Mr. Jumps leaps into Olympic high jump finals

Former LSU track and field star JuVaughn “Mr. Jumps” Harrison did Friday what he always did when he won a combined six NCAA titles in the high jump and long jump before he turned pro a few weeks ago.

He made it look easy.

Harrison breezed through the high jump qualifying as track and field competition began in the Tokyo Summer Olympics. He cleared the opening height of 7 feet, 1½ inches on his first attempt and went on to clear 7-5¾ when 13 finalists were identified. The finals are 5:10 a.m. CDT Sunday.

“I felt comfortable,” Harrison said in an interview with NBC’s Lewis Johnson. “The competition was great. I love competition, I thrive on it. So having all these great competitors here is going to push me to do a lot better.”

Harrison will also compete in the long jump qualifying at 5:10 a.m. Saturday. He’s the first American athlete to compete in the unusual high jump/long jump double at the Olympics since the legendary Jim Thorpe in 1912.

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