Confident… flashy… talented… all words that aptly describe K-State track star Erik Kynard. After leaping over 7-07.75 at the 2012 London Olympics, another descriptor applies: Olympic Silver Medalist.
This day was no normal one for the men who took to the Olympic high jump pit. Normally steady competitors wilted under the pressure of the packed stadium. But Erik Kynard, the youngest competitor of them all, refused to let the pressure of the moment overwhelm him.
I handle pressure very well. I try not to conform to my environment. The Olympic Stadium is a big stage and I’m a big guy, so it fit me.
Many of his fellow top 10-ranked jumpers did not “handle pressure very well.” In fact, Kynard was one of only two finalists to make it past the first four heights in the finals In the end, only Ivan Ukhov of Russia was able to best Kynard, but the young K-Stater kept the pressure on Ukhov until the end.
One Ukhov cleared 7-08.75 on his first attempt, however, the pressure fell squarely on 21-year-old Kynard’s shoulders. His personal best coming into the Olympics was 7-8.00, and today would not be the day he bettered it.
Kynard began this track season sporting flashy purple socks, and won an NCAA championship. He ends this track season sporting flashy American flag socks, with a silver medal around his neck. Even in finishing second, he has done many people proud: his family, his country, and yes, his school.