By Daily Journal reports
LONDON – Gulfport’s Brittney Reese struggled with her first two jumps on Tuesday, but did just enough on her final try to reach today’s finals in the women’s long jump at the London Oympics.
“It was ugly but I made it through,” Reese, the former Ole Miss All-American, wrote on her Twitter account after finishing ninth in qualifying. The top 12 jumpers advanced.
Earlier Tuesday, Ole Miss junior Isiah Young advanced to today’s semifinals in the men’s 200 with a third-place finish in his heat – a race that featured the World’s Fastest Man, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.
It’s the first Olympics for Young but the second for Reese, who finished fifth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Reese came to London as the gold medal favorite – she has the best jump in the world this year – but barely fouled on her first two attempts on Tuesday.
Down to her last chance, she took a “safe jump” at the front of the launching board and registered a jump of 6.57 meters (21 feet, 6.75 inches).
Today’s finals begin at 2:05 p.m. CT.
The competition can be seen live at NBCOlympics.com and highlights will likely be shown tonight during NBC’s primetime coverage from 7 to 11 p.m.
“I just couldn’t put it together,” Reese told reporters. “I have to get it done. This is the Olympics, you have to bring it.”
Shara Proctor of Britain (6.83)led all qualifiers. The field will not include 2008 gold medalist Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil, who failed to qualify.
Young, who was a surprising third at the U.S. trials, will run the semifinals at 2:10 p.m. CT.
Bolt won his heat in 20.39 and Brazil’s Aldemir da Silva Jr. leaned at the finish line in 20.53. Young advanced with a 20.55.
“I guess it went good,” Young told reporters after his first Olympic race. “20.5 is not my best, probably the worst I’ve run all year. … Hopefully I’ll do better tomorrow.”
Young will run in Heat 2 of the semifinals, which is the same heat as Bolt and Silva once again. Also in Heat 2 is Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa, who ran for Jackson State in 2012.