DAEGU, South Korea – Brittney Reese, the former Ole Miss All-American long jumper, threw down the challenge with her very first attempt in Sunday’s finals at the world championships.
None of her rivals had an answer – at least none worthy of a gold medal.
Reese successfully defended her world title on Sunday, winning on the strength of her first jump, 6.82 meters (22-41⁄2). She followed that with five invalid jumps.
“I just wanted to come out here and put a big jump in and have everybody chase it,” said Reese, 24, a Gulfport native who lives and trains in Oxford. “I really did think that it was going to get knocked off, but I’m excited it didn’t.”
Russia’s Olga Kucherenko came closest, with a personal-best 6.77 (22-21⁄2) on her final jump to win the silver. Ineta Radevica of Latvia (6.76, 22-21⁄4) won the bronze.
It was the first gold medal of the 2011 worlds for Team USA.
Reese’s victory puts her in elite track and field company. She’s the second female athlete to win back-to-back gold medals in the long jump at the worlds, following Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1987, 1991), who won her titles before the worlds became a bi-annual event.
And it’s the first time the women’s title has been decided with just one valid jump.
“I have never won a competition with just one valid jump,” said Reese, who won her first world title two years ago in Berlin. ”I really thought that seven meters would be necessary for the gold medal, because it was a very strong competition.”
Defending Olympic women’s champion Maurren Maggi of Brazil finished 11th (20-3).
Reese has positioned herself as the favorite at the 2012 Long Olympics, as she has now won three consecutive world titles, including last year’s indoor world crown.
“I’ve got three World Championship medals so now my goal is to win an Olympic gold,” she said.
In her first major international competition, the 2008 Bejing Olympics, Reese finished fifth after posting the best jump in qualifying.
Also Sunday, Trey Hardee successfully defended his decathlon title, building his lead with a personal best in the javelin and winning the gold ahead of American teammate Ashton Eaton.
The world indoor and outdoor champion solidified the lead he had taken earlier in the day with a throw of 226 feet, 4 inches in the javelin. He finished ninth in the 1,500-meter race but his lead was big enough to claim gold with 8,607 points.
Eaton was second with 8,505 points and Leonel Suarez of Cuba took third with 8,501.
NEMS Daily Journal