Reese qualifies for third straight Olympics

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Sun Herald

Gulfport native Brittney Reese qualified for her third straight Olympic berth on Saturday.

The former Ole Miss standout and defending Olympic long jump champion easily advanced on Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She leaped a personal-best 23-11 3/4 in the finals, breaking Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s trial mark. She’s now the number two all-time long jumper in U.S. history, behind Joyner-Kersee.

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Reese goes for history at the Summer Olympics from Aug. 5-21 at Rio de Janiero, Brazil. She seeks to become the first woman to win consecutive Gold medals in long jump.
Heike Drechsler of Germany is the only woman to capture two gold medals in long jump, winning in 1992 and 2000.

The Rio Zika virus outbreak, which forced several worldwide Olympic athletes to withdraw, apparently is not a concern. Her agent, Mark Pryor of World Express Sports Management, discussed the issue last month.

“We will take as many precautions as possible, so it doesn’t affect her, but not going has never been discussed,” Pryor said.

The Gold medal in long jump will likely come down between Reese and Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic. Reese finished second behind Spanovic at last month’s IAAF Diamond League meet in Stockholm, Sweden.

“I feel she’s the one to beat in the long jump,” Reese said. “She’s my best competition. If I want to win another gold medal, I’ll have to beat Ivana.”

Reese finished fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games, but won a Gold Medal at the 2012 London Games.