Long Jumper Brittney Reese Ends Fourth And Final Olympic Games With Silver Medal
by Kara Tanner
Brittney Reese of competes in the women's long jump final during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.
TOKYO – As day five of track and field kicked off at the Olympic Games, conditions were less than ideal inside Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.
With rain falling on and off all morning, humidity was at an all-time high. As the sun started to break through the clouds, the temperature on the track started to rise.
And even in already sweltering conditions, Team USA brought the heat.
Back on the track today was Allyson Felix in the women’s 400-meter qualification heats. Despite the heat, Felix managed to finish first in her heat with a time of 50.84. First-time Olympians Quanera Hayes (51.07) and Wadeline Jonathas (50.93) finished second in their respective heats to move on to the semi-finals.
Making his Olympic debut today in Tokyo was 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton. Knighton won his men’s 200-meter qualification heat with a time of 20.55 to earn himself a spot in tonight’s semi-finals. A sprinting sensation, Knighton is the youngest track athlete for the United States in Tokyo.
Knighton is most often referred to as the teenager faster than Usain Bolt. Yes, you read that right – faster than Usain Bolt.
In May 2020, he broke Usain Bolt’s under-18 record in the 200 meters, and a month later he surpassed Bolt’s under-20 record and beat reigning world champion Noah Lyles in two races at the Olympic Trials. Also moving on to tonight’s semi-finals are Lyles and Kenneth Bednarek, who both won their respective heats.
Among today’s outstanding performances was the long jump duo of Brittney Reese and Tara Davis.
After impressive qualifying scores, Reese and Davis were strong favorites for medal potential ahead of today’s final. Reese had the top qualifying jump at 6.86m, with Davis just behind at 6.85m.
And in the last competition of her career, Reese, 34, will go home the silver medalist.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Reese of winning the silver medal. “I had a great career. I had a great journey. I’m just blessed. I’ve been in this sport for 13 years, and to finish my career with a silver I can’t complain.”
Reese fell just short in the last jump, ending with 6.97m, to Germany’s Malaika Mihambo. It looked like she was going to go home with the gold, but Mihambo took the lead in her final jump of competition – winning gold with a final jump of 7.0m.
“I’m used to beating people on the sixth jump, and I got beat on the sixth jump so it’s just kind of funny how I end my career that way,” said Reese. “Mihambo is a great athlete. She’s a world champion and now an Olympic champion.”
Tara Davis reacts while competing in the women's long jump final during the Olympic games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 03, 2021 in Tokyo.
Also competing for the United States in the long jump was Tara Davis.
Sporting her iconic white cowgirl hat as she walked out into the stadium, Davis, a Wylie, Texas native was hoping to find a place on the podium but missed the mark in the final. The highly-rated Davis finished sixth with her best jump of 6.84m.
“I’m sad,” said Davis through tears. “I put myself on a really high pedestal, and I didn’t reach my goal, and I feel it…I will be back, and I will win gold.”
For veteran Reese, she believes her purpose has been not only to achieve greatness but inspire the next generation. She says it’s exciting knowing that athletes like Davis are the future of the sport in the U.S.
“My whole career, I felt like I needed to inspire,” said Reese. “I feel like I inspired the next generation of long jumpers, and Tara is one of those athletes.”
After the conclusion of the event, a visibly upset Davis was greeted with a few words of wisdom from the veteran.
“I went to her and told her she’s the future,” said Reese. “I didn’t win at my first Olympics and see how I turned out… She has a bright future.”
For Reese, this silver medal is just another to add to her long list of accomplishments and cements her place in long jump history.
“There’s no reason to hang my head,” said Reese. “It just shows that I’m the long jump beast. I just got beat today.”
On social media, Reese has dubbed herself the long jump beast. And a beast she is. With today’s win, she has 11 total career medals.
Reese is a four-time Olympian and now three-time Olympic medalist. She won gold at the Olympic Games London 2012 and silver at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. In addition to her Olympic medals, Reese has eight world championship medals – seven of which are gold.
“I was not placed here for the attention,” said Reese. “I was placed here to inspire, and I hope I did that in my career…The younger athletes are coming up. I’ve done all I can, and it’s time to move on.”
And when asked where she thinks she stacks up against the best long jumpers of all-time, she responded confidently.
“I am. Point blank.”
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo2020 to view the medal table, results and competition schedule.