Normally this site doesn’t use exclamation points in headlines, but Erik Kynard is a special case. The first Kansas State undergrad to represent the United States as an Olympian since Nathan Leeper in 2000, Kynard finished second to Jamie Nieto in the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
In a dramatic, rain-soaked event, all three men to advance to the Olympics are coached by one man: Cliff Rovelto. In a testament to Rovelto’s brilliance, two of his client athletes, Jamie Nieto (1st) and Jesse Williams (4th, but advances based on Olympic A standard), will join Erik Kynard at the London Olympics this summer.
After a clean state in the preliminary round, and a first attempt clearance at the opening height of 7-00.50, Kynard missed on his first attempt at 7-02.50. As the runway conditioned worsened with the rain, Kynard managed to clear 7-02.50 on his second attempt, but then missed again on his first attempt at 7-04.50. Kynard, however, was not the only jumper to struggle a bit on the water-logged runway. Several seemed to have problems on their approaches, and only two went over 7-04.50 on their first attempts.
Kynard found himself in a tie for the third and final Olympic slot, as the jumpers moved on to 7-05.75. It was at this height that Kynard began to separate himself in the quest for a spot in the Olympics. He was one of only two competitors–the other being Nieto–to clear the height on their first attempt.
Five competitors moved on to 7-07.00 (the Olympic A standard), with four having cleared 7-05.75, and one passing the height to move directly to 7-07.00. Kynard was sitting second, behind only Nieto, as the jumpers began their attempts at 7-07.00. All five men failed to clear the bar at that height, leaving the results to be decided on misses. Those results are as follows:
|1||Jamie Nieto||N Y A C||2.28m||7-5 ¾|
|2||Erik Kynard Jr||Kansas State||2.28m||7-5 ¾|
|3||Nick Ross||Unattached||2.28m||7-5 ¾|
|4||Jesse Williams||Nike / Oregon TC Elite||2.28m||7-5 ¾|
|5||Ed Wright||Unattached||2.25m||7-4 ½|
|5||Justin Frick||Shore A C||2.25m||7-4 ½|
|7||Montez Blair||Cornell Track & Field Club||2.15m||7-0 ½|
|7||Dwight Barbiasz||Florida||2.15m||7-0 ½|
|9||Tora Harris||Unattached||2.15m||7-0 ½|
|NH||Zack Riley||SwampFox Track Club|
Said Rovelto of Kynard’s achievement:
I’m happy for Erik. It’s tough for a young guy to do what he’s doing. But there is also a significant amount of relief because I believe he is one of the best.
As mentioned above, the fourth place finisher, Rovelto-coached Jesse Williams, advances in lieu of Nick Ross, given that Williams has cleared the Olympic A standard height of 7-07.00 earlier in the season, while third-place finisher Nick Ross had not. It should also be mentioned that Zack Riley, who, along with four others, was unable to clear the opening height for the high jump finals of 7-00.50, is a K-State signee. Kansas State truly has established itself as “High Jump U”, and Cliff Rovelto is without peer as a high jump coach.