Jeff Henderson won the long jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on his sixth and final attempt, leaping a season-best 27 feet, 6 inches (8.38m).
He hit the sand, then bounded out the back of the pit and sprinted down the tarmac. After he saw his mark, he then sprinted the other way in elation.
The Stillman College product had eclipsed Luvo Manyonga of South Africa by half an inch. It was the first gold for TeamUSA in this event since 2004.
Teammate Jarrion Lawson was fourth at 27-0 ¾, finishing behind reigning Olympic champion Greg Rutherford of Great Britain, who overtook him on his final attempt by jumping 27-2 ½.
At the 2016 NCAA Championships, Lawson won the 100-meter, 200-meter and long jump to become the first athlete since Jesse Owens 80 years ago to win all three events.
Both Henderson and Lawson were trying to follow in Owens’ footsteps in Rio, though Owens surely didn’t have a pre-jump ritual like Henderson.
He leans forward, taps his toe several times and then leans back three times before each jump.
“Jumping Jeff,” as Henderson is dubbed on his Twitter page, said after winning the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field, “If I’m confident in myself, it doesn’t matter what other people are doing.”
He dedicated that win to his mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
“She’s had it since I got out of high school. I don’t know whether she’ll be aware of what I’ve done, but I’ll be glad to go home and let her know much I love her.”
Semoy Hackett - Lincoln (Mo), representing Trinidad and Tobago in the women's 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, placed 16th in the semifinals of the 100m. She will begin preliminaries for the 200m on Monday (Aug. 15) and the 4x100m on Thursday (Aug. 18).
St. Augustine's product Ramon Gittens, running for Barbados, failed to advance out of heat #8 in the 100m dash. He finished with a time of 10.25 but needed a 10.20 to advance to the semifinals. Gittens is also scheduled to compete in the 200m dash later.
Johnson C. Smith product Kendra Clarke, wearing the colors of Canada, failed to advance in the 400m dash, finishing 6th in her heat on Saturday.