RIO DE JANEIRO — Like the hang gliders that soar over postcard-perfect beaches here, Jeff Henderson launched and seemed to float forever. He had plenty of time to take in the scenery, the fans, his slack-jawed opponents, the scoreboard that would soon need updating.

When the 27-year old American long jumper finally landed, Henderson had flown 27 feet 5.9 inches and had leap-frogged his foes, locking up an Olympic gold medal on his final jump Saturday.

“I knew it,” Henderson said. “I knew it was far. ‘OK, this is over.’ I knew I won the competition after that jump.”

Henderson’s win capped a night of flight and speed at Olympic Stadium. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson blew through the women’s 100-meter field in a time of 10.71 seconds to edge out silver medalist American Tori Bowie by 0.12 seconds.

“First time being here and we won a silver. … I’m not giving up on me having a chance to win a gold medal,” Bowie said.

“I started running the 100 meter in 2014, so I’m right at two years in. By next time around, I’ll be a real professional,” she said with a laugh.


The U.S. team has yet to reach the top of the podium on the track but already has secured golds in two field events through two days of competition.

Henderson had led the men’s long jump competition early but was passed in the fifth round by South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga. Henderson regained his lead on his sixth and final jump. The gold wasn’t quite locked up yet, though.

On the night’s final jump, Henderson’s American teammate, 22-year-old Jarrion Lawson, appeared to leap his way to the top spot on the podium. He sprung off the board and kept going and going. When his feet splashed the sand, it looked like he’d overtaken Henderson. But a review of the jump showed that his left hand touched down, costing him any shot at the podium. Lawson finished in fourth place, 11/2 inches away from a medal.

Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford, the defending Olympic champ, took bronze in the event, spoiling the British fans’ hopes for a repeat of “Super Saturday,” a single day from the London Games in which British athletes dominated. Mo Farah already ha warmed up the Brits in attendance Saturday night.

In one of the night’s marquee events, 10,000 meters wasn’t enough for Farah. After defending his Olympic title, he took the Union Jack for a victory lap around the track. Despite falling near the race’s midpoint, Farah bounced back up and kept pace with the leaders.

“I thought about all my hard work and that it could all be gone in a minute,” Farah said. “I wasn’t going to let it go. I got up quickly. I thought about my family. It made me emotional.”


The 33-year-old took the lead to stay on the final turn and sprinted across the finish line, posting a time of 27:05.17, which was 25 seconds better than his gold medal performance from the London Games.

Farah’s Portland, Oregon-based training partner Galen Rupp, who took silver in the race four years earlier, was among the leaders much of the way but didn’t have an extra kick for the final lap and finished fifth. His time of 27:08.92 marked his best run of the year.

Farah and Rupp are attempting difficult doubles here. Farah will try to defend his 5,000-meter Olympic title later this week, and Rupp will take part in the marathon.

In the sprints, Bowie also has her sights set on a double and will attempt the 200-meter race here, following her second-place finish Saturday night in the 100. She crossed the finish line in 10.83 seconds, just 0.03 seconds ahead of Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the third-place finisher who won gold in the race at the past two Olympics.

“It just makes me a little bit more motivated. I came here hungry,” Bowie said. “I came here determined to win a gold medal. I didn’t do that today; just makes me a little bit more motivated.”

Thompson, 24, was favorite, having posted the world’s fastest time of the year entering the race, a 10.70-second mark at the Jamaica Olympic trials last month that only four women have ever topped.


The Olympic final featured three Jamaican sprinters and two Americans. Tianna Bartoletta missed her chance at the women’s final, posting a time of 11.00 in her semifinal. She’s the first American sprinter to miss the 100-meter final since Gail Devers at the 2004 Games. The 31-year-old’s Olympics are not over, though. She’ll compete in the women’s long jump, which begins Tuesday, before joining English Gardner and Bowie on the 4×100 relay team.

LaShawn Merritt is also carrying a busy Olympic schedule. He’s attempting the difficult 200-400 double at these Rio Games, which calls for him to race six times in a seven-day stretch. He had no problem advancing to Sunday’s 400-meter final, which will pit the past two Olympic champions against each other.

Merritt, who won the race at the 2008 Games, cruised in his semifinal heat, finishing with a time of 44.21, coasting to the finish line in the process. Merritt will see some familiar faces in Monday’s final, including Grenada’s Kirani James, the defending Olympic gold medalist who posted the day’s best time, 44.02.

“You know it’s the same people,” Merritt said. “The same people I’ve been racing for the past couple of years. There’s just a lot more at stake right now. It’s not my first time around. I feel good and I want it.”

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