Hemingway Advances to Final; Lister Misses Mar
BY ANDRES FOCIL
ATHENS, Greece – In his first Olympic Games Matt Hemingway came one step closer to claiming a medal after he advanced to the finals of the high jump. On his last attempt he cleared the required minimum prelim height of 7-5.75 to move on to the finals.
Hemingway passed on the first two opening heights of 6-10.75 and 7-0.50, before he went on to easily jump over 7-2.50 and 7-4.25 on his first tries. When 7-5.75 came up he knocked the bar off twice before clearing it on his third chance. Hemingway was clearly emotional after making the last bar and got the large and festive crowd to help him attempt the height.
“Yeah, it was pretty dramatic, kind of like the trials,” Hemingway said. “After the first two tries, I made the right adjustments. On the first one, I hit my head and on the second, I missed with my heel.”
Eleven other athletes will be in the finals, along with his USA teammate, Jamie Nieto. The finals of the high jump are on Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. (Athens time). NBC will also broadcast the finals beginning at 6 p.m. (CDT).
Besides Hemingway, Melvin Lister was the other former Razorback who was seeing Olympic competition on Friday. Unfortunately, Lister saw his dreams of taking home gold in the triple jump end when he was unable to finish in the top 12 in the prelims. Lister had the top mark in the world (58-4.00) entering the Olympic Games and had high hopes of having a good showing.
Lister registered a mark of 54-7.25 on his third and final attempt, but it wasn’t good enough to crack the top 12 and placed him at 18th overall. This was Lister’s second time to represent the United States at the Olympics. In 2000 he competed in the long jump, but never had the opportunity to advance to the finals after he suffered a partially torn groin ligament in the prelims.
“I spent my whole time trying to get my steps right and it just wasn’t working,” Lister said. “I’m really frustrated and disappointed. This was my chance and now it’s over.”
On Saturday Daniel Lincoln will line up in the prelims of the 3,000-meter steeplechase as America’s top runner in the event. The first qualifying round is scheduled to begin at 10:05 p.m. (Athens time) at the Olympic Stadium.
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