McPherson 10th; Americans miss high jump medals

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chaunte Lowe danced to the samba during her introduction. Inika McPherson, ball cap, sunglasses and all, stayed cool and flashed her “Welcome to Port Arthur” tattoo on her forearm.

Surely, McPherson will be remembered for the unique style she brought to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but she wanted to be remembered for more — a gold medal.

McPherson finished tied for 10th out of 17 finalists Saturday in the women’s high jump, failing to clear the winning height of 1.97 meters, or 6 feet, 5½ meters. Ruth Beitia, 37, of Spain won gold, with Mirela Demireva of Bulgaria taking the silver and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia earning bronze.

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All three medalists missed three straight jumps at 2 meters after clearing 1.97, but Beitia earned the tiebreaker because she did not miss on her three previous heights of the night. Demireva had one miss at 1.88, and Vlasic missed once each on her three previous heights.

Three-time defending U.S. national champion Chaunte Lowe, whom the Associated Press favored to win, had a chance at victory, but struck out at 2.00 after making 1.97 on her third try. Fellow American Vashti Cunningham was 13th.

McPherson missed twice at 1.93 before making it. Her personal best is 2 meters, set in 2014.

Each miss at 1.97, she bounced off the landing pad in disgust. The third time, though, she lay for about a minute, her face buried in disappointment.

Still, Port Arthur is looking for its first high jump champion since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1932. Buddy Davis of Nederland won the men’s high jump in 1952, and PA-born Amy Acuff failed to medal in five straight Olympics (1996-2012).

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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