Dejected Smith at a loss after Rio failure
Tyrone Smith said he felt completely lost as he ended his Olympic Games career in desperate disappointment after missing out on the long jump final.
Smith hoped to challenge for a medal in his third and final Olympics but could only finish sixteenth last night to bow out with a whimper, with only the top 12 making the medal round.
This was not the way Smith envisioned bringing the curtain down on his Olympic journey.
“I feel lost right now and incredibly disappointed,” Smith said. “I really wanted to bring home that medal for Bermuda and I’m sad that I didn’t put it together.
“I gave it everything I had and really expected to be in the final and fighting for that medal.
“Unfortunately this will be my last Olympics and that’s not the way I wanted to finish it off.”
Smith’s longest jump of 7.81 metres was well shy of his personal best of 8.22 and simply not good enough on a night when several big names failed to fire.
He was certain of bettering that jump in his last attempt but produced his worst distance of 7.67 – a sharp contrast to London in 2012 when he pulled out his best leap of the season to make the final.
Michael Hartfield of the United States was another surprise casualty, finishing 25th with 7.66, while Greg Rutherford of Britain, the Olympic champion, sneaked into the final on his final jump of 7.90.
Demar Forbes of Jamaica claimed the final qualifying spot with 7.85.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow because it took 7.85 to make the final and that must be some kind of record low at recent Olympics,” Smith said.
“I was OK with the first jump [7.78] and opening close to 7.80 is usually pretty good for me.
“I was feeling good at that point and after the 7.81 I was like, ‘OK, we’re making progress, we’re good’ and I moved my approach back a little bit because I was a bit ahead of my check.
“Going into the third round I wasn’t stressing out like I was in London. I was a little more calm and confident.
“I’m not sure what the issue is. I’ll have to look at the tape. I wasn’t the only guy having issues out there today. The runway was super fast.”
A downbeat and dejected Smith made no excuses and said he was at a loss as to why he was unable to deliver when it mattered most.
“I’ve been training very well and competing at a high level all season and all last year,” Smith added.
“I didn’t have my full support group here today and who knows if that might have made a difference.
“I’ve done it before and I should have been able to do it today. It’s on me.”
Smith will not make any rash decisions regarding his future and had planned to retire in two years’ time.
“It’s always dangerous to talk [about your future] after a major competition,” said Smith, who turned 32 this week. “A lot of people will tell you they’re going to retire after a meet like this.
“I’m just going to take a couple of days, relax and gather my thoughts before I make any final decisions.
“I had planned for 2018 to be my last season if things continue to move in the right direction.”
Wang Jianan of China was the best qualifier with a jump of 8.24, followed by Jeff Henderson of the United States with 8.20.