Harrison Takes Flight, Soars to Win High Jump and Long Jump: By Pierre Weil SOJC Track Bureau for RunBlogRun

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JuVaughn Harrison is doing something not done since 1912. He will be competing in both the high jump and long jump at the 2021 Olympics. Not since Jim Thorpe, in 1912, has this double been completed with success.

Just how good is JuVaughn? Well, the LSU star has won double three times in NCAA competitions!

Thanks to Pierre Weil of the SOJC for this story!

Lori Shontz and Larry Eder edit all stories by SOJC Track Bureau.

Harrison_JuVaughn-Q-OlyTrials21w.jpgJuVaughn Harrison going airborne! photo by Kevin Morris / Kevmofoto

Harrison Takes Flight, Soars to Win High Jump and Long Jump:

By Pierre Weil

SOJC Track Bureau for RunBlogRun

EUGENE, Ore. -- JuVaughn Harrison of LSU pulled off a stunning double on Sunday, winning both the men's high jump and long jump championships in the scorching Oregon heat to become the first American man to compete in both events at the Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912.

The reason this double is so unique? Just ask Harrison.

"One is vertical, one is horizontal, and the technique for both is different," he said. "Where in high jump I have to be more upright and bouncy, in long jump I can just sprint out and push a lot harder. It's a very big difference between the two, and technically it's not very easy to do both."

Harrison stepped onto the track for the high jump final at 1:15 p.m., right as the Eugene temperature hit triple digits. Harrison, born in Alabama and an LSU athlete, thrives in the heat.

"I love the heat, so it was a great day for me to compete," Harrison said.

Harrison, who won both events at the NCAA Championships in 2019 and 2021, didn't hit the bar a single time on the way to his winning mark of 7 feet, 7 ¾ inches, or 2.33 meters.

Eventually, Harrison did miss at 7 feet and 8 ¾ inches, but he edged Tennessee's Darryl Sullivan on the tiebreaker because he had fewer misses. Sullivan hit the same mark but missed three jumps along the way, and thus will head to the Olympics with a second-place finish.

Rounding out the trio heading to Tokyo with a jump of 7 feet 6 ½ inches, or 2.30 meters, is Shelby McEwen, who competed for the United States at the Doha World Championships in 2019.

Harrison, expecting a quick turn-around before the long jump finals, was notified along with the rest of the competitors that the meet was being suspended until later in the night due to the heat.

"The delay really just gave my legs more time to recover and it gave me a chance to eat something," said Harrison. "Other than that, I was ready to go earlier even though they said it was too hot."

Harrison took full advantage of the extra rest and floated his way to a personal best of 27 feet, 9 ½ inches, or 8.47 meters, on his third jump to secure his second win.

The two athletes joining Harrison on the long jump podium were Marquis Dendy, who qualified for the Rio Games but pulled out prior to them due to injury, and Steffin McCarter, who finished fifth in the NCAA Championships two weeks ago.

Dendy set a season-best of 27 feet, 6 inches, or 8.38 meters, on his second jump while McCarter tied his personal best of 27 feet, 1 ¼ inches, or 8.26 meters, on his third jump.

Jeff Henderson, defending Olympic champion and second at the World Championships, was unable to qualify for the games after a sixth-place finish.

As for Harrison, he says this meet gives him immense confidence heading to the Olympics.

"It really showed me that everything I was doing in college wasn't a fluke," Harrison said. "It shows that I can compete with the best of the best, and hopefully I can come back home with some hardware."

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