Injury not the gift Smith hoped for in final
Tyrone Smith was left wondering what might have been after injuring his hamstring in the long jump final at the Pan American Games yesterday.
It certainly was not the birthday present the 35-year-old had hoped for as he pulled up clutching the back of his leg in his fifth jump during the medal round.
Smith was unable to complete his six jumps and had to settle for fifth place with a best leap of 7.74 metres, which came in his third attempt having fouled his first two efforts.
Juan Miguel Echevarría, the Cuban favourite, won the gold medal after jumping 8.27, with Tajay Gayle, of Jamaica, claiming silver (8.17) and Uruguay's Emiliano Lasa taking bronze (7.87).
“It's super disappointing because it was right there,” Smith said. “My first two fouls were good enough to be in the medals, for sure.
“I had everything in me today to go eight metres easily, as I did on the first two rounds, the fouls.”
Smith said he was feeling like his “old self” by the third jump when he qualified for the medal round as one of the top seven competitors.
He believes a podium finish was within his grasp before the untimely injury, which he put down to the chilly weather in the Peruvian capital.
“I still wanted to see if I could get through because even at 80 per cent, with the way I was feeling today, I could have got at least a 7.90,” Smith said. “I could have at least made it harder for Emilio and maybe snatched a medal away from him the way he did from me [at the previous Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015].
“It just wasn't to be and once your body says no there's nothing to assist you [in Lima].
“There's no warm weather, no sun; I had hot pads in my tights the whole competition to try and combat the weather. It just wasn't quite enough.
“I didn't anticipate going out because of injury, though. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to be pulling it out with a medal.”
The three-times Olympian, who started his MBA at the University of Austin, Texas, this week, will now turn his attentions to the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, next month.
He will also be juggling his studies with training as he looks to join his fiancée Sandi Morris, the top United States pole vaulter, at the Olympic Games in Toyko next summer.
“There's enough time to rehab as long as [the injury] isn't super bad,” he said. “Hopefully I can put together a good jump so I can be at Tokyo next summer.
“I'll still fight all next summer if I don't have the standard by then to make sure I'm there.”
He added: “It's actually really nice because now I can train in the afternoon and go to class before casually getting to the track. I'm looking forward to being able to go to school and then go training.
“I'm may not be able to jump 12 times in a season next year, but I may be able to do four quality meets before the Olympic Games.
“It's a really cool internal competition with Sandi but mostly it's a really great support structure.
“Just having someone who really understands what you're going through and someone you can open up to because I'm quite a guarded person.”