On a day full of surprisingly early exits from the high jump competition, Erik Kynard maintained his focus. Kynard advanced to the Olympic high jump finals after clearing 7-06.00.
As 5th-ranked Russian high jumper, Aleksandr Shustov, missed once at 7-03.00 and twice at 7-05.00 in failing to qualify, Kynard kept his slate clean. Two other top 10-ranked jumpers (Kynard is ranked 6th in the world) also failed to make it to the finals. But Kynard never lost his focus, eventually clearing 7-06.00 (on his second attempt) to put himself through to the finals in third position.
Kynard will be joined in the high jump finals by both of his American teammates, Jesse Williams and Jamie Nieto. Kansas State track & field coach Cliff Rovelto coaches all three men–the only coach in the 2012 Olympics to be the personal coach of every member of a given event. Of his three jumpers, Coach Rovelto said:
Erik looked great. He was just too close to the pit at his only miss. Jesse was fine, and Jamie did a good job of being clean through 2.26 [7-05.00]. His third attempt at 2.29 [7-06.00] was good. We should be fine.
Kynard now has his ultimate goal in front of him: earning an Olympic medal. He is trying to become the first K-Stater in 60 years to medal while still a college student. The last to accomplish that feat was sprinter Thane Baker, who took home a silver medal in the 200 meters during the 1952 Olympics. The last KSU alum to bring home a medal was Austra Skujyte, who claimed a silver in the 2004 Heptatholon. (Skujyte barely missed the medal stand in the same event just yesterday, finishing fifth after sitting second going into the final event.)
You can follow Kynard’s medal attempt by going to NBCOlympics.com, as they are providing a live video feed. Additionally, @kstate_gameday on Twitter posts frequent updates, and London2012.com has live results posted almost immediately as they happen.