Tara Davis jumps way to Olympic finals

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Aug. 2—Just one jump; that's all it took.

Tara Davis needed only one attempt during the preliminaries to qualify for the finals of the women's long jump at the Tokyo Olympics.

Davis leaped 6.85 meters (22 feet, 5 1/2 inches) to gain an automatic berth and did not have to jump again. So she didn't.

Davis qualified fourth of the 12 finalists for Tuesday's finals, which were set for 8:50 p.m. on Monday for Greenville time. Japan is ahead of Greenville in the worldwide time zone. NBC plans to cover the women's long jump finals. The USA network has also provided track and field coverage and NBC has also provided live coverage via broadband on its website.

American Brittney Reese, the seven-time world champion and former Olympic champion, jumped barely past Davis at 6.85 meters in Group A. Reese and Davis also finished first and second in the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.

It will be Davis' first time to compete in a long jump final at the Olympics. Reese, a 34-year-old from Inglewood, California, won gold in the London Olympics in 2012 and silver at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Davis, who has family from Greenville, first started competing at the age of 4 for the Wylie Flyers before moving to California. She won California state high school championships in the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter hurdles and was a Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year.

Davis won the NCAA indoor (22-9) and outdoor (21-11 3/4) long jump titles this past season for the University of Texas. She also set a U.S. college record in the outdoor long jump with a leap of 23-5 1/4 at the 93rd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, which are named for a former Greenville coach.

Her father Ty Davis, a former Greenville Lion football player and track and field runner, has been coaching her in Tokyo.

Her grandmother Roz Lane, a retired realtor in Greenville, planned to watch the Olympics at a resort in Orlando. NBC arranged a special viewing area in Orlando for the families of the U.S. Olympians since spectators have been banned from the stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tya Gittens, a long jumper from Texas A&M, also advanced to the finals at 6.72. Gittens is competing for Trinidad and Tobago. Gittens was second to Davis at the NCAA outdoor long jump championship.

Ivana Spanovic of Serbia led the qualifiers at 7.00 meters (22-9 3/4). She jumped in Group B. She was a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics and is the reigning world indoor champion.

Second in Group B and second overall was Malaika Mihamabo of Germany at 6.98. Mihamabo won the world outdoor title in 2019.

Davis and her boyfriend Hunter Woodhall, who'll be competing in the Tokyo Paralympics, have been receiving a lot of worldwide coverage and have appeared in TV commercials.

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