August 10, 2016
Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford may only sit 21st on the all-time list in the men’s long jump, but if he joins Carl Lewis as the only men to win multiple Olympic long jump titles on Saturday night, even Lewis — who has been critical of the current crop of long jumpers — will have to accept Rutherford as a legend of the long jump. The Brit may not post eye-popping marks (he’s never eclipsed 28 feet in his career) but Rutherford has an important quality that all great champions share: the ability to raise his game when it matters most. This was on full display last year in Beijing, when Rutherford summoned an 8.41-meter jump in the fourth round of the World Championship final, a season’s best and the second-longest jump of his life. That clutchness has allowed the 29-year-old to pile up gold medals and he enters Rio as the reigning Olympic, World, Commonwealth, European and Diamond League champion.
Rutherford has been near-perfect in 2016, winning seven of his eight competitions (his only loss came at the Birmingham Diamond League on June 5, where he suffered a neck injury). Though his 8.31m (27’3″) season best ranks him tied for seventh in the world this year, he will be the favorite in many observer’s eyes.
This event is wide-open however, as the results of the U.S. Olympic Trials showed. Marquise Goodwin entered the competition as the world leader at 8.45m, but could only finish seven as four men eclipsed 8.40 meters (two of those marks were wind-aided). The result was one of the deepest long jumps in history as all-time marks for place (all-conditions) were set for 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. University of Arkansas star Jarrion Lawson, who in June became the first man since Jesse Owens to win NCAA titles in the 100, 200 and long jump, exited the meet as the new world leader at 8.58 meters, but that was only good enough for second place as Jeff Henderson went 8.59 (+2.6 wind) to win it. Both of those men, plus Michael Hartfield (who replaces Marquis Dendy on Team USA after Dendy withdrew due to injury) will be medal threats in Rio, though it’s reasonable to ask whether Lawson will have anything left after a long college season that started back in January. Fortunately for him, he won’t have to do any running events at the Olympics.
Internationally, there are several medal threats. Rutherford’s training mate, Fabrice Lapierre of Australia, took silver last year in Beijing and was second at World Indoors behind Dendy. Sweden’s Michel Torneus, fourth four years ago in London, was just four centimeters behind Rutherford at Euros and jumped a lifetime best of 8.44 on July 10 (though he could only manage 7.77 in his last meet in London on July 23). Xinglong Gao of China has won three of his five events this year, including DL victories in Shanghai and London; he was also fourth at Worlds lat year.
Event Time and Date:
Qualification – 8:20 p.m. ET Friday, August 12
Final – 7:53 p.m. ET Saturday, August 13
2016 World Top 10
|8.58||+1.8||1.||1.||Jarrion LAWSON||94||USA||F||2.||Eugene (USA)||03.07||1265|
|8.44||+1.8||3.||3.||Michel TORNÉUS||86||SWE||F||1.||Monachil (ESP)||10.07||1234|
|8.38||+0.8||5.||6.||Rushwal SAMAAI||91||RSA||F||1.||Rabat (MAR)||22.05||1221|
|8.34||+0.3||6.||7.||Michael HARTFIELD||90||USA||F||2.||Baie Mahault (FRA)||14.05||1212|
|8.31||-0.4||7.||9.||Fabrice LAPIERRE||83||AUS||F||–||Rabat (MAR)||22.05||1207|
|8.31||-0.3||7.||9.||Greg RUTHERFORD||86||GBR||F||1.||Roma (ITA)||02.06||1206|
|8.30||+0.2||10.||12.||Luvo MANYONGA||91||RSA||F||1.||Pretoria (RSA)||11.03||1203|
2015 Worlds Top 5
Gold: Greg Rutherford, Great Britain 8.41m
Silver: Fabrice Lapierre, Australia 8.24m
Bronze: Wang Jianan, China 8.18m
4. Gao Xinglong, China 8.14m
5. Le Jinzhe, China 8.10m will not compete at Olympics
Note: Dendy withdrew due to injury and will not compete
|1. Greg Rutherford (Great Britain)||8.51 | 27-11 (’14)|
|2. Fabrice Lapierre (Australia)||8.40 | 27-6¾ (’10)|
|3. Jeff Henderson (USA)||8.52 | 27-11½ (’15)|
LRC Prediction Contest Votes
Jarrion Lawson 43%
Jeff Henderson 33.6%
Greg Rutherford 20.1%
Lamont Marcel Jacobs 1.4%
Michel Torneus 0.8%
Fabrice Lapierre 0.4%
Maykel Demetrio Masso 0.2%
Michael Hartfield 0.2%
Rushwal Samaai 0.2%
LRC Picks: Gold: Rutherford Silver: Lapierre Bronze: Henderson
Plenty of guys have the talent to win this event, which is why we’re going with Rutherford, who has come through on the sport’s biggest stages time and again. The consistent Lapierre takes second. An American has medalled in the long jump in 24 of 27 Olympics; we like Henderson to make it 25 of 28 in Rio.