Former LSU track and field star JuVaughn “Mr. Hops” Harrison needed just two leaps Saturday to qualify for the Olympic long jump finals in the Tokyo Summer Games.
Harrison, who finished fifth among the 12 athletes who advanced, went 26 feet, 8¼ inches on his first attempt and then 26-3¾ on his second attempt. Because he already knew at that point he was among the finalists, he passed on his third attempt .
Harrison will now compete in the finals at 8:20 p.m. CDT Sunday, 13 hours after he competes the high jump finals at 5:10 a.m CDT. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead in time.
It was obvious Harrison was just trying to advance to the finals. His best jump was just more than foot less than his personal-record of 27-9½ that won the event in the U.S. Olympic team trials on June 10.
Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria led the 12 qualifiers with a best of 27-10¾ and Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou was second at 26-11¾. Tentoglou entered the Olympics with the world’s best mark this year with a 28-2¾ while Harrison was second with his 27-9½.
Also on Saturday, former LSU 2013 NCAA indoor and outdoor 800 meters champion Natoya Goule of Jamaica advanced to the finals by winning her semifinal heat in 1 minute, 59.57 seconds.