Thanks to Greg Rutherford, British LJ man who won Olympic, European, World, Commonwealth golds, who reminded Stuart Weir not to forget the LJ. Stuart did not forget the women’s LJ. And yes, Greg, we have a Men’s LJ piece in the planning for next couple days! (Greg gave one of the finest, and funniest interviews ever, when he teamed with Dame Valerie Adams at Birmingham DL in 2015, I believe.
Mihambo finds a seven-meter jump, just when she needed it
Greg Rutherford, who is doing TV interviews this week, berated me for not having given the men’s long-jump my full attention. It is hard with so much going on simultaneously. I learned from my mistake and followed the intrigue of the women’s long jump closely. It was a high-quality event with four ladies jumping 6.90m or further.
As we entered round 5, Ese Brume and Brittney Reese were tied at the top on 6.97 with Brume leading because her second-best jump was better than Reese’s. Reese found 6.95 in round 5 to take lead in the tie-breaker. What is it they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” and Malaika Mihambo produced a 7-meter jump to win the competition?
The final result was
1 Malaika Mihambo (Germany) 7.00m
2 Brittney Reese (USA) 6.97m
3 Ese Brume (Nigeria) 6.97m
4 Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) 6.91m
5 Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (Ukraine) 6.88m
6 Tara Davis (USA) 6.84m
Brume added an Olympic bronze to her 2019 World Championship bronze. She has also set a new African record this year with 7.17m. The 34-year-old, Brittney Reese has already an impressive collection of medals: Olympic gold and two Olympic silvers, four World outdoor, and three World Indoor gold medals. Mihambo finds herself Olympic, World, and European champion with eight 7-meter jumps to her name.
The winner commented: “I feel overwhelmed. It was, I think, the most exciting women’s long jump competition in history. It was so exciting to be part of and I am happy I made it at the end. I knew that I could jump farther than 6.95m. I just needed to hit the board. I knew all the time that I could do it. I just knew that I had one last attempt to do it and I am so happy to grab the gold. There was pressure, but sometimes it’s easier for me to deliver under pressure”.
Brittney Reese, who is retiring after this season, said: “It is a great feeling. I had a great career and a great journey. I have been in this sport for 13 years, and I can’t complain about finishing my career with silver. It was a great competition, won by inches. I have 11 medals, and I am at my fourth Olympics and got medals in three of them. There is no reason to hang my head, I just got beaten today.I am used to beating people in the sixth jump, and I got beaten in the sixth jump today, so that is funny.
“I feel it is time for me to step away, and spend more time with my son, who is starting sports. This just shows how the sport is about to change, the younger athletes are coming up. It is time to move on.”
Ese Brume comes across as gracious and positive when she might have felt frustrated to have seen gold snatched away from her. She said “I am super excited, I can’t express how I feel. The medal means a lot. For me, Jesus is alive. The journey this season was hard. I was injured in the middle of the season – badly injured, a knee injury in April – but I was able to continue and move forward thanks to my coach and everyone who has supported me”.
It was just a shame that there was no crowd in the stadium to appreciate it.