Former Eielson High School student Janay DeLoach is the second Alaskan to medal at the Olympic Games this summer. DeLoach competed in the long jump event in London today, where she earned herself a third place finish.
DeLoach holds the Alaska state record for women's long jump, but this is the 26-year-old’s first Olympics Games.
DeLoach passed the preliminary rounds by rocketing 22 feet, 4-1/4 inches on her first attempt, landing her with the second-highest qualifying mark, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She and eight other jumpers moved forward to the Gold medal round including fellow American, Brittney Reese, of Gulfport, Mississippi.
Reese ended the event with the gold medal. Her first place jump marked in at 7.12 meters, while Russia's Elena Sokolova earned silver with 7.07 meters. DeLoach's bronze medal leap measured 6.89 meters. Team U.S.A.'s third long jumper, Chelsea Hayes of New Orleans, came in 16th over all.
DeLoach's former basketball coach, Tara DeVaughn, told the News-Miner, “You feel you have a connection to the Olympics because you have pride for your country," then added, “Now you have a connection to her because you’re watching the Olympics and thinking, ‘I had that kid in my class.’ It’s awesome...”
Alaska adds DeLoach's success to that of former University of Alaska, Fairbanks shooter Jamie Lynn Gray. Gray won gold in women's 50-meter rifle three position last week, setting a new record in the process.
Congratulations to DeLoach, her family, friends and coaches on a brilliant Olympic finish.