Janay DeLoach, a four-time Alaska state long jump champion, was among the top qualifiers in the women's long jump Tuesday at the London Olympics. DeLoach, 26, had the second-best jump of the day.
The Eielson High graduate leapt 6.81 meters (22.34 feet) on a cool evening at Olympic Stadium. The top qualifier, Shara Proctor of Great Britain, jumped 6.83 meters (22.4 feet).
"The plan was to try my best," DeLoach told reporters. "The track's really fast so I'm looking forward to some pretty good jumps (in the final).
"To have the opportunity to come and have this amazing opportunity, I wouldn't have missed this for anything."
DeLoach was an outstanding basketball player and track athlete at Eielson High in Fairbanks, where she graduated in 2003 after claiming numerous victories in the sprints as well as the long jump. Her jump of 19-5 remains the Alaska high school long jump record.
She blossomed as a long jumper at Colorado State and still lives and trains in Fort Collins.
DeLoach, who stands 5-foot-5, claimed a silver medal earlier this year at the world indoor championships.
She was one of two Americans to the advance to Thursday's 12-woman finals. Brittney Reese qualified with a jump of 6.57, ranking her eighth among qualifiers.
The 12-woman finals are Thursday.
"I've worked so hard to get here and nothing's going to stop me," she said. "I'm hungry for the gold."
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.More Olympics articles and photos
By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News