Erik Kynard took a leap in Oregon and landed in London.
The 2009 Rogers High School graduate placed second in the high jump at the U.S. Olympic trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., by clearing 7 feet, 5 3/4 inches.
Jamie Nieto, a 35-year-old from Chula Vista, Calif., also cleared 7-5 3/4 with fewer overall misses than Kynard to place first Monday and become the oldest high jumper to make a U.S. Olympic team. Jesse Williams, the reigning world champion in the high jump, will complete the squad.
The thought of representing the U.S. in the London Games beginning July 27 didn't completely register for Kynard until Tuesday morning. Filling out paperwork required by all team members and getting fitted for team uniforms and attire made it pretty clear in the 21-year-old Toledoan's mind he was headed to the Games.
"It's great, but it kind of didn't sink in until today during processing," said Kynard in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"This is the realization that I've gotten it done. This [Olympic] trial was a great experience and I'm good to go."
A two-time NCAA Division I outdoor high jump champion, two-time Ohio high school Division I state champion and state record-holder (7-2 3/4), Kynard's latest and greatest feat is arguably tops up to this point in his career. It places the 6-foot-4 1/2, 193-pounder on the biggest track and field stage in existence.
"I'm happy for Erik," said Kansas State track coach Cliff Rovelto, who coaches the three high jumpers. "It's tough for a young guy to do what he's doing, but there is also a significant amount of relief because I believe he is one of the best."
Kynard, who completed his junior year at Kansas State in the spring by winning his second NCAA outdoor title, has worked his way up to this point ever since qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials while still a high school junior at Rogers.
Kynard's second experience in four years was nothing like his first trip to the track-and-field crazed community located on the northwest coast. Then, he came to the trials as a wide-eyed 17-year-old looking to take in the moment of being in the company of the USA's finest track and field athletes. He was one of only a handful of high school athletes to even participate in the events.
This time, a confident Kynard came in with different expectations and a more impressive resume. He knew he belonged.
"I felt like I was ready to go for it," Kynard said. "I felt like I deserved to be there and I was ready to get it done.
"I had all the experience this time.
"I never considered finishing as second and I was kind of disappointed that I didn't win," he said.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.