Former LSU track and field star JuVaughn Harrison ran into world-class competition in the Olympic long jump and high jump finals in the Tokyo Summer Games.
Harrison finished fifth in the long jump Monday morning Tokyo time after 16½ hours earlier finishing seventh in the high jump Sunday night Tokyo time.
Despite struggling with his steps which cost him valuable inches on his long jump takeoff, Harrison came up with a clutch jump on his third and last attempt to advance to the final eight competitors who all jumped three more times.
Harrison’s second-to-last jump of 26 feet, 9 inches temporarily put him in position to win a bronze medal.
Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou moved from fifth to tie Harrison for third when he immediately matched Harrison’s mark on his second-to-last jump. But Tentoglou had the tiebreaker for the bronze medal based on his second-best jump.
After Harrison missed the takeoff board for a substandard jump on his last attempt, Tentoglou won the gold medal on his final attempt at 27-7¼.
In the high jump finals, Harrison cleared 7 feet, 7¾ inches, one inch off his personal best. Yet it was only good enough for seventh place as Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi shared the gold medal with clearances of 7-9¼ each.
In his first Olympics, Harrison cleared 7-2¼ and 7-4¼ on his first attempts, 7-5¼ on his third and final attempt and 7-6½ and 7-7¾ on his second attempt.
Understanding he was one of seven competitors remaining and they all had fewer misses, he passed at 7-8½, took and missed one jump at 7-9¼ and missed his twice at 7-10 (which would have been an Olympic record) which would have given him the win. Five other competitors also missed at 7-10.