On Monday, Greek athlete Miltiadis Tentoglou, who had been trailing in the long jump race, came through in the clutch to win gold (2).
Long Jump Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
He was in fourth position going into his final jump, but he smashed out an 8.41m performance to tie early leader Juan Miguel Echevarria and win the competition on countback.
Because of that, the young Cuban, who had been suffering from a strained hamstring all game, was put under additional stress. It was clear that Echevarria was in increasing pain with each round, and by the time he made his final approach, he was in a lot of discomfort.
He started out running slowly, then slowed to a trot, and then stopped before the take-off board, where he kneeled down and pounded the ground twice with his fists before leaving the runway.
Tentoglou, who at first looked unwilling to acknowledge that he had won, exclaimed, “What a fantastic competition, what an incredible jump, the last jump.” I struggled at first and wasn’t successful. But I came up with an idea that earned me the medal in the end.
The competition didn’t really get going until the final round, when it looked like world indoor champion Echevarria would win his first world outdoor crown.
Maykel Masso, a teammate, started the competition with a leap of 8.21 metres and quickly claimed the lead. Then in the third round, Echevarria, who had started with a leap of 8.09 metres, sailed out to 8.41 metres and grabbed charge. By the third and fourth rounds, both Cubans were suffering right hamstring injuries, with Echevarria favouring his after each leap and Masso unable to even attempt them due to the pain.
Tentoglou was sitting in third place after the first round with a jump of 8.11 metres until JuVaughn Harrison, who had placed seventh in last night’s high jump final, shook off the rust and jumped 8.15 metres to take over bronze.
Tentoglou bounced back nicely, achieving an 8.15m leap of his own in the same round to reclaim third place (thanks to countback) in the competition.
The two Cubans were unable to participate in the fifth round due to illness and had to sit on the bench and observe.
Eusebio Caceres of Spain was the first to make a move in the final round, jumping to a personal best of 8.18m to win the bronze medal. Tentoglou made a response that Harrison couldn’t, and it was the decisive jump.
As the first male athlete to compete in both the high jump and long jump finals at the same Olympics since 1948, Harrison had a busy week that ended with a fifth-place finish.
World U20 champion Yuki Hashioka, who set a personal best of 8.36 metres in June, leapt 8.10 metres in the final round to place sixth, only two centimetres ahead of Sweden’s Thobias Montler.
Although he was clearly in pain, world champion Tajay Gayle of Jamaica still managed to qualify for the final despite straining his medial collateral ligament in the qualifying round, and his 24th birthday fell on the same day. After a pair of fouls, he did manage one measured leap, a 7.69m effort that left him in 11th place.