By Gary R. Blockus | Aug. 05, 2017, 4:39 p.m. (ET)
Jarrion Lawson competes in the men's long jump at the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the London Stadium on Aug. 5, 2017 in London.

 

Jarrion Lawson picked up the banner for U.S. long jumpers on Saturday at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, earning a silver medal after 2016 Olympic champion Jeff Henderson and world indoor champion Marquise Dendy didn’t get past their qualifying jumps on Friday.

The 23-year-old Lawson went 8.44 meters on his final jump but could not surpass Luvo Manyong of South Africa, who won the gold medal with a jump of 8.48 meters. The 26-year-old Manyong took silver at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 behind Henderson.

Lawson, who placed fourth in Rio by one centimeter, leaped 8.43 meters on his second jump of the championship round to better his previous season-best of 8.33 meters.

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A native of Texarkana, Texas, Lawson took the lead in the after one round of the finals with an opening jump of 8.37, but Manyong hit the gold medal-winning distance on the next jump after Lawson hit 8.43.

Lawson, who has a career-best 8.58, stepped up to the plate for the Americans when Henderson, the reigning Olympic champion, fouled on a jump on Friday that matched the automatic qualifier mark of 8.05 meters, which would have advanced him into Saturday’s medal round.

“It’s not what I wanted at all,” Henderson said. “I wanted to do better, but I guess it’s harder to come back after last year. I’m kind of sad I didn’t get to go out there and get where I wanted to, but I guess I’ll take something from it for next time.”

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.