US champ nearly misses Olympics
Reigning world high jump champion Jesse Williams barely qualified for London while Alysia Montano served notice she will be an 800m medal threat at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials.
On a rainy Monday at the meet where the top three finishers typically book US berths at the Olympics, Williams slipped in with a fourth-place finish only because third-place finisher Nick Ross had not reached the Olympic A standard.
“For me not to be on the team would be a disaster,” Williams said.
“It almost didn’t happen for me.”
Ross took three leaps at 2.31m, the height he needed to clear to qualify for the Olympics, but failed each time as Williams watched helplessly, unable to do more than hope his rival missed.
“I’ve never been in a situation quite that dramatic, wishing someone to miss,” Williams said.
“He had some really good jumps at 2.31. I was sitting there thinking, ‘Miss them’. Normally I don’t think that during competitions... normally I don’t put myself in that kind of distress.”
Montano, who missed the podium at last year’s worlds by .06 of a second, won the women’s 800 in 1:59.08. Her season-best time of 1:57.37 at a Diamond League meet in Eugene on June 1 ranks second in the world this year in the event.
No American woman has taken a women’s 800 Olympic medal since Kim Gallagher in 1988. The only US woman to win gold in the event was Madeline Manning in 1968.