August 13, 2016. Engenhau Stadium.
The Long Jump in 2012 London was won by Greg Rutherford of Great Britian. In 2014, Greg won the European Champs and Commonwealth Games. In 2015, Greg won the World Championships in Beijing. Affable, a cheerleader for the event, Greg Rutherford wanted very much to defend his title in Rio.
Well, several other athletes had other ideas. After the increadibly deep Long Jump at the US Olympic Trials, Jeff Henderson and Jarrion Lawson had some crazy long jumps and I wondered how that would tranaslate into Rio. Either the US jumpers would be dominating or they would be flat from the Trials.
By the end of attempt 1, Jeff Henderson had jumped 8.20m, Jarrion Lawson was at 8.19m, Greg Rutherford, the defending champion was at 8.18m, and Luvo Manyonga was at 8.16 meters. It was close!
In attempt 2, Jianan Wang, CHN, jumped 8.17m, to jumpers were at 8.20m, 8.19m, 8.18m, 8.17m, 8.16m! Jarrion Lawson jumped 8.15m and Rutherford jumped 8.11m.
In attempt three, Jarrion Lawson tookt he lead, with 8.25m, Greg Rutheford responded with 8.22m, and Henderson jumped 8.10m.
In attempt four, Greg Rutherford took the lead, with an 8.26 meters! Luvo Manyonga, RSA, the world junior champion from Monton, blew it all open with his 8.28 meter throw, and Luvo took the lead!
In round five, Greg Rutherford responded with 8.09 meters. Then, Luvo Manyonga, already in the lead, jumped 8.37 meters, to cement his lead. Jeff Henderson responded with 8.22 meters!
In attempt six, Greg Rutherford jumped 8.29 meters, to cement his bronze medal.
In attempt six, Jeff Henderson gave it all he had and leaped 8.38 meters, to take the lead by one centimeter!
Luvo Manyonga, RSA, had one chance to take back his gold, but, he fouled.
Jerrion Lawson had one final jump, and while it was long, his hand trailed, and he was measured at 7.78m!
Jeff Henderson took the gold, with 8.38m, Luvo Manyonga, RSA, 8.37m, and Greg Rutherford, GBR, 8.29m!
I spoke to Jeff Henderson a couple days later, and he was basking in the coolness of his Olympic victory. I congratulated him on his win and his performances. The long jump was an excellent competition, and lived up to the Rio Olympic hype.