While NBC was busy airing a very boring 5,000-meter race that wasn’t close, the women in the Olympic pole vault final were putting on plenty of drama, and former Razorback Sandi Morris came oh so close to winning gold.
The final round began with 12 vaulters, and the field whittled its way down to Morris and Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi. They were the only two women to clear the bar at 4.85 meters, setting up a showdown between them.
Each woman had three opportunities to clear the mark. Stefanidi went first in the attempt at 4.9 meters, and she missed all three of her attempts. However, she cleared more of her attempts earlier in the competition, meaning she would win gold neither she nor Morris cleared the 4.9-meter bar.
Morris cleared 4.93 meters outdoors just last month in Houston, so while 4.90 is a difficult height, it is something Morris has the capability to do. She had three chances to do it, and on the final opportunity it appeared at first that she completed the vault, but unfortunately hit the bar on her way down, resulting in a silver finish.
It was a tremendous effort from Morris, who remains among the world’s elite in the event.
Morris nearly wasn’t the only former Razorback to win a medal Friday night.
Tyson Gay and Jarrion Lawson were both members of Team USA’s 4 x 100meter relay, and finished third in the race. However, it was ruled that one of their baton trades was illegal, so they were disqualified shortly before taking the podium for their bronze medal. It was a rough Olympics for Lawson, who last weekend appeared to win the long jump on his final leap, but was ruled that his hand touched the sand early, resulting in a fourth place finish.
Morris’ silver medal is the third medal for a former or current Razorback in the Rio games. Omar McLeod won gold in the 110 meter hurdles earlier this week and Veronica Campbell-Brown won a silver in the 400 relay for Team Jamaica, the 8th medal of her career.