Former LSU track and field star JuVaughn Harrison discovered Sunday you have to be virtually flawless against the world’s most veteran high jumpers.
Harrison cleared 7 feet, 7¾ inches in the Olympic finals, 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 the Tokyo Summer Games.
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.
Harrison has one more shots at a medal. He competes in the men’s long jump at 8:20 p.m. CT on Sunday evening (Monday on Tokyo time).