EUGENE, Ore. – Defending Olympic gold medalist Jeff Henderson opened the evening Sunday in second place with an 8.08-meter jump in the men’s long jump at the USA Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field. However, four other men went on to pass Henderson through the next five jumps as the 2013 Stillman College alum finished sixth. He needed another seven inches to advance to the Tokyo Olympics.
Henderson, a native of McAlmont, Arkansas, was looking for his second-straight Olympic bid and was the No. 2 favorite entering competition. His 8.08m (26 feet, 6.25 inches) jump was his best of the week, jumping 8.02m during qualifying. In Sunday’s finals, he jumped 8.01m, 7.86m, 7.77m, 7.74m and 7.73m in his final five attempts. Coached by 1984 Olympian Al Joyner, Henderson represented Team Adidas at the trials.
LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison won the long jump with a personal best and world-leading jump of 8.47m in his third attempt. Having won the high jump earlier in the day, he is the first Team USA member to qualify in both the high jump and long jump since Jim Thorpe in 1912.
Florida alumnus Marquis Dendy took silver in the Trials at 8.38m on his second jump, a season-best, while Steffin McCarter (University of Texas) claimed the final Olympic spot with a third-place and person-best jump of 8.26m (27 feet, 1.25 inches). All three qualifiers will be first-time Olympians in the event.
Henderson and 2016 Olympic teammate Jarrion Lawson, who had the best qualifying jump Friday, both missed their return bid to the Olympic Games. Lawson passed on his three finals attempts Sunday, likely due to injury.
During his career at Stillman College, Henderson won two national titles for Stillman College at the 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field championships: the 100-meter dash (10.18) and long jump (7.81m). He was also runner-up in the 2013 championships in the 200-meter (20.65) to earn 28 points as High Point Athlete of the Meet and help Stillman to a program-best ninth-place team finish. Henderson earned his bachelor’s in business administration in 2013. After Stillman, Henderson won gold at the 2015 Pan American Games, gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and was the silver medalist at the 2019 IAAF World Championships Silver medal distance in Doha, Qatar. His season-best in 2021 came in May with an 8.39 meter jump to win the USATF Chula Vista Field Festival in California.
Henderson was the only men’s long jumper in the trials who completed his collegiate career at the NCAA Division II level and the only graduate of a historical black college or university (HBCU). Stillman competed in NCAA Division II through the 2015-2016 year before transitioning to the NAIA in Fall 2016.
1. JuVaughn Harrison (LSU), 8.47m
2. Marquis Dendy (Unattached), 8.38m
3. Steffin McCarter (Texas), 8.26m
4. Damarcus Simpson (Unattached), 8.19m
5. Isaac Grimes (Florida State), 8.09m
6. Jeff Henderson (Team Adidas), 8.08m
7. Cameron Crump (Mississippi State), 7.91m
8. Corey Crawford (Unattached), 7.90m
9. Allen Gordon (Mississippi), 7.86m
10. Rayvon Allen (Oklahoma), 7.71m
11. Trumaine Jefferson (Unattached), 7.66m
DNP, Jarrion Lawson (Unattached)