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LONDON — Toledoan Erik Kynard enjoyed a silver lining in his quest for an Olympic gold medal in the men's high jump on Tuesday.
With plenty of moral support being channeled in from his home in Toledo, Kynard cleared a height of 2.33 meters (7.64 feet) in the men's high jump event to take second place in his first trip to the Olympics. Russia's Ivan Ukhov captured the gold medal after clearing 2.38 meters (7.81 feet) on his first attempt.
Kynard becomes the first Toledoan to win an individual Olympic medal since Edmund Coffin won gold in equestrian competition at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Wilbert "Skeeter" McClure won a gold medal in boxing at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
At one point in the competition, Kynard, a junior at Kansas State University, was in first place among the world's best high jumpers before Ukhov — favored going into the Olympics — cleared the winning height.
"It's a blessing," said Kynard's mother, Brandynn Adams, regarding her son's silver-medal showing. "Erik is a blessing and he knows it's a blessing to be a blessing.
"I'm ecstatic and I'm excited for him."
A crowd of about 50 family members and friends squeezed into the snug basement of Mrs. Adams' home in West Toledo for the second time in three days to watch Kynard compete in the Olympics. They watched the competition live via streaming video from a laptop connected to a flat-screen TV.
The supporters, some of whom wore T-shirts with Kynard's image on the front, clapped and cheered loudly every time he was shown on the screen.
It didn't matter if he was sitting on a bench in the designated area for the high jumpers or if he was attempting a jump. Their support was loud and clear for the competitor wearing the USA uniform and a flashy pair of red, white, and blue socks.
When it was clear Toledo's latest Olympic medalist would leave as a silver medalist, friends and family stood and applauded while the TV screen showed him taking a victory lap around the track along with Ukhov and the three men tied for bronze: Essa Mutaz Barshim of Qatar, Robert Grabaarz of Britain and Derek Drouin of Canada.
"I'm here. I medaled, so that's all I could do," said the 21-year-old Kynard in a news conference after the event. "Pressure doesn't burst my pipes. I have faith in my abilities. No stage is too big. This is the best second place I have ever had."
His stepfather enjoyed the experience.
"I'm loving it and we'll take it," said Chris Adams, Sr. "He's bringing home the silver and I'm very proud of him."
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Erik Kynard, Sr., made the trip to London to watch his son compete.
"The day was on-the-edge-of-the-seat excitement," Mr. Kynard said via text message from London.
Mr. Kynard said he felt proud being able to see his son compete at the Olympics and win a medal.
Mrs. Adams began her day as a bundle of nerves, and her anxiety remained high throughout watching the high jump competition on both the TV as well as on a laptop perched in her lap.
She could barely keep from covering her eyes whenever her son was about to attempt a jump.
"It was overwhelming at times," Mrs. Adams said. "All the noise [from the cheering family members] was a lot for me, but I'm glad I was able to be here and watch with my family."
Latoya Brooks, 27, was among the crowd on hand at the Adams home and she thought her cousin represented the family and Toledo quite well.
"He did excellent," Ms. Brooks said. "A lot of people don't get the opportunity to do what he did, especially at his age."
At least a third of the crowd in the Adamses' basement were young individuals who have followed Kynard's track and field career dating back to high school. The Rogers graduate was a two-time Division I Ohio state champion and holds the state high jump record of 7-3½ set in 2009. Among the younger crowd on hand included his 15-year-old brother, Chris Adams, Jr., who kept his attention on the family's flat screen and took in every moment of the most significant track meet in his brother's track and field career.
"He did great," Chris said. "He won silver.
"It's been stressful, but we're happy now."
Camerren Webb also kept his eyes glued to the TV, even when the reception from the Internet feed froze into a buffering state. The 12-year-old was on hand to watch his cousin go for the gold.
"I think he's just amazing and it was a big accomplishment," he said. "It was great. He won a silver medal and we'll take it."