EUGENE, Ore. – Like a storm brewing, Brittney Reese could feel a big jump on her immediate horizon.
“My blood gets running,” she said. “And I just know. I get pumped up a lot. And I know that it is coming.”
Did it ever! The defending Olympic champion unleashed a world-leading leap of 23-feet, 11 ¾ inches on her fourth attempt at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field. She made her third straight Olympic team in the event and won her seventh outdoor title.
Reese also broke the 28-year-old meet record held by Jackie Joyner-Kersee at 23-8 ¼ and tied Marion Jones as the second-best U.S. female long jumper of all time.
Oh, and no one has jumped farther the past 12 years
Tianna Bartoletta, the reigning world long jump champion and defending U.S. champion, was second with a mark of 23-0 ½. Bartoletta made the 2012 Olympic team in the 100-meter and is trying to double here. She placed second in her heat – which took place at the same time as the long jump – with a time of 11.03 to qualify for the semifinals on Sunday.
Janay DeLoach, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, went 22-9 on her fifth attempt to move from seventh place into third and capture the final Olympic berth.
Joyner-Kersee awarded the medals at Hayward Field.
“She just told me I have a lot more left in me,” Reese added. “I feel like I agree with her.”
Joyner-Kersee has been a mentor to Reese, who said they talk all the time. “I look up to her,” Reese said. “I’m honored to have her in my corner.”
Both JJK’s American record of 24-7 set in 1994 and the world record of 24-8 ¼ set by Galina Chistyakova of the Soviet Union in 1988 are among the more ancient in the sport.
“She can pass me and go even further,” Joyner-Kersee said.
Reese, who won three straight world outdoor titles from 2009 to 2013, said she was ecstatic to move up so high on the world list. “That’s a dream of mine,” she said. “I want to come out here and before I retire break the American and world record, so I feel like I’m on pace.”
Before the trials, Reese’s best jump this season was 22-8 ½ on this same track at the Prefontaine Classic in late May.
In the Friday night preliminaries, she was the only jumper over 7 meters, going 7.01, or 23 feet. She posted the mark on her first jump and passed her other two attempts.
“Yesterday when I came down and jumped 7 meters easily, I knew that today would be special and I proved myself to be right,” said Reese, whose previous PR was 23-9 ½ set in 2013.
She opened on Saturday with 22-11 ¾, then fouled on a second jump that would have been well over 24 feet.
“I started feeling it after that jump,” Reese said. “My first one, I messed up a little bit and then after that one, I felt like a big one was coming. I just had to trust my run and get it done.”
After she landed, she raised her arms in triumph and waggled her fingers at the crowd, inviting applause.
Reese said this was her first meet running a full approach down the runway. “I’ve just got to establish that rhythm a little bit early,” she said, “and once I establish that rhythm, great things will happen.”
Reese fouled on her fifth and sixth attempts. She said she still needs to work on her position on the board and her landing if she wants to break records.
But for now, Reese has sent a message to her rivals in Rio. As defending Olympic champion, she said, “I’m not pressured at all. I know I’m the one to gun for. I’m just going to trust myself and worry about myself and try to bring home another medal.”
Bartoletta, who won the long jump last year at nationals with a leap of 23-4 ½, did not have her two events at the same time in 2012. She raced the 100-meter at the 2012 Olympic Trials on June 22-23 and the long jump, in which she was entered but passed, was June 29 and July 1.
“We begged for the schedule (at the 2016 trials) to be changed, but no dice,” she said. “To accommodate the double we changed my practices so I would go from the runway to sprints and back to the runway. Even though the pressure of this being the Olympic Trials is higher, my body was used to it.
“I didn’t come into today trying to win the long jump because I knew it would be a difficult task having to run the 100 meters between rounds. We just wanted to be on the team in the long jump and then focus on the 100 tomorrow.”
DeLoach said she had to calm herself down. She fouled her first two jumps, then 21-7 ¼ to make the final.
"I wouldn't recommend anyone do what I did,” she said, “which is to pull it out on the last jump.”
Molly Huddle made her second U.S. Olympic team, but in a different race. Huddle led wire-to-wire to win the women’s 10,000-meter on Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field.
Huddle steadily pulled away from Emily Infeld on the final lap to finish with a time of 31 minutes, 41.62 seconds. Huddle, who placed 11th at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the 5,000, knew better than to let up.
Last year, Huddle was poised to take the bronze medal at the world championships in Beijing, but celebrated too soon. She let up, raising her arms in the air, and Infeld, who was right on her heels, surged past to cross the finish line first.
Infeld was second Saturday to make her first Olympic team with a time of 31:46.09, while Marielle Hall, who came in with the fastest time by an American in the world list, was third at 31:54.77. This is also Hall’s first Olympic team.
Whitney Ashley has made two world championships teams in the women’s discus, but will make her first Olympic appearance in Rio. Ashley had the winning toss of 204 feet, 2 inches on her fifth toss, fouling on her other two throws in the final.
Shelbi Vaughan and Kelsey Card are also first-time Olympians. Vaughan threw 197-9 on her second attempt and Card opened with a 197-3 that held up.
Stephanie Brown Trafton, the Olympic gold medalist in 2008, and winner of the 2012 Olympic Trials, placed fifth with 195-8 on her final throw.