The United States won three jumping gold medals in London, Russia swept the high jump and Greg Rutherford gave British fans something to cheer for by winning the long jump. The jumping events weren't kind to defending champions, as no Beijing winners prevailed in London. Even further, no 2008 Olympic jumping medalist won a medal in 2012.
Women's Long Jump:
American Brittany Reese
suffered takeoff problems throughout the Olympics, fouling on six of her nine attempts in the qualifications and the final. But, just as her sole legal qualifying jump allowed her to advance, her first legal jump in the final was strong enough to give her the gold medal. Reese leaped 7.12/23-4¼ in the second round, then fouled on three of her last four attempts. But only Russia’s Elena Sokolova was close to Reese’s effort, with a personal best jump measuring 7.07/23-2¼, also in the second round. American Janay DeLoach sat in fourth place most of the evening, then reached 6.89/22-7¼ in the fifth round to snatch the bronze away from Latvia’s Ineta Radevica (6.88/22-6¾). The London triumph gave Reese her fifth consecutive major international title, including two indoor and two outdoor World championships.
Men's Long Jump:
Greg Rutherford of Great Britain picked a good time to win his first senior international championship. After finishing fifth in the 2009 World Championship at age 22, Rutherford had trouble fulfilling his potential during the following years, not even qualifying for the final at the 2010 World Indoor and 2011 outdoor World Championships. But he reached the final in London and soared 8.21 meters (26 feet, 11¼ inches) in the second round, which would've been enough to win the gold, but he improved to 8.31/27-3 in the fourth round. That’s the shortest Olympic-winning long jump since 1972 – not that anyone in Great Britain was concerned about that bit of trivia. Meanwhile, Australia’s Mitchell Watt fouled on three of his first four jumps before finding his stride. He moved into silver medal position with his fifth jump, then improved to 8.16/26-9¼ in the final round. American Will Claye was consistent through the first five rounds and earned the bronze with his 8.12/26-7½ performance in the fourth round.
Men's Triple Jump:
Christian Taylor, the 2011 World champion, was on the edge of elimination after beginning the triple jump final with two fouls. He then leaped 17.15/56-3 to put himself safely among the top eight who continued to the fourth round. Having dodged that bullet, Taylor moved from fifth place to first, jumping 17.81/58-5 in the fourth round to take a lead that he never relinquished. Fellow American Claye, who'd led since the second round, tried to answer Taylor and improved to 17.62/57-9¾, which earned him the silver. First-round leader Fabrizio Donato of Italy eventually reached 17.48/57-4 to finish third.
Women's Triple Jump:
Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan led almost the entire competition to win the triple jump gold medal. The 2010 World Indoor champion took the first-round lead with a leap measuring 14.54/47-8½. Ukraine’s Hanna Knyazyeva edged in front with a 14.56/47-9¼ effort in the second round, but she couldn’t improve and eventually fell to fourth. Rypakova unleashed her winning jump of 14.98/49-1¾ in the third round. Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha, who was outside of a medal position for most of the day, briefly moved into second with a sixth-round jump measuring 14.79/48-6¼, but Catherine Ibarguen of Columbia gained the silver by leaping 14.80/48-6½ on her last try, leaving Saladuha in third.
Women's Pole Vault:
In Beijing, Jenn Suhr’s
clearance at 4.80/15-9 was only good enough for second place, thanks to a world record
performance by Yelena Isinbayeva
. But on a breezy evening in London in 2012, Suhr’s 4.75/15-7 clearance, plus a tactical advantage over runner-up Yarisley Silva, earned the American an Olympic gold medal. Both Silva and Isinbayeva missed their first attempts in the final, while Suhr cleared her opening height of 4.55/14-11. After passing at 4.65/15-3, Suhr topped 4.70/15-5 on her first try and 4.75 on her second, matching Silva’s performance. But Silva, who equaled Cuba’s national record, had to settle for a silver medal due to her earlier miss. Isinbayeva, meanwhile, cleared 4.65 and 4.70 before barely missing twice at 4.75. She took her final attempt at 4.80, but wasn’t close, so the Russian two-time defending champ had to settle for a bronze medal. Neither Suhr nor Silva came close to clearing 4.80 in three attempts each.
Men's Pole Vault:
Men's favorite Renaud Lavillenie of France led for most of the pole vault final, but dropped to third in the late stages and was one jump away from finishing with the bronze when he cleared an Olympic record 5.97/19-7 to move back into first and take the gold medal. Lavillenie was the only clean jumper through 5.85/19-2¼, but he missed his first attempt at 5.91/19-4½. Germans Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe – who previously had two and four misses, respectively – cleared 5.91 on their first attempts to move in front. But neither could go any higher. Holzdeppe earned two personal bests in his bronze medal performance, while Otto took the silver.
Men's High Jump:
Russia’s Ivan Ukhov, who’d won World and European indoor championships in previous years, put it all together outdoors in London, winning the high jump gold medal with a leap measuring 2.38/7-9¾. Erik Kynard, the 21-year-old American, cleared 2.33/7-7¾ to finish a surprising second. Kynard grabbed the lead when he cleared 2.33 on his first attempt, but Ukhov took it back for good by topping 2.36/7-8¾. Kynard missed once each at 2.36, 2.38 and 2.40/7-10½. Canada’s Derek Drouin, Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar all tied for third, with clean cards through 2.29, and all received bronze medals.
Women's High Jump:
Russia’s Anna Chicherova entered the 2012 Olympics with an impressive resume featuring six World Championship medals – including the 2011 outdoor gold medal – plus a bronze from the 2008 Olympics. The 30-year-old then proceeded to dominate the London competition. She basically wrapped up her high jump gold after clearing 2.03/6-7¾ on her first attempt, then put an exclamation point on her performance by topping 2.05/6-8¾ on her second try. American Brigetta Barrett cleared her final three heights on the second attempt each, including a personal best clearance of 2.03, to finish second, while Russia’s Svetlana Shkolina, who was clean through 2.00/6-6¾, topped a personal best 2.03 on her third try to solidify her bronze medal. Both Barrett and Shkolina missed three times at 2.05.
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