DES MOINES — Erik Kynard, Jr., made the most of his professional track and field debut.
The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and Toledo native won the men’s high jump Sunday at the U.S. track and field championships.
Kynard, who signed an endorsement contract Monday with Nike, cleared 2.28 meters (7 feet, 5¾ inches) with his first attempt at the height to clinch his first U.S. title.
“A win is a win,” Kynard said. “I’m looking to stay training well, stay healthy. I’m not a guy that gets hurt. I always stay healthy, just been doing a lot of things right.
“I have a great coach, great program, great system.”
The victory solidifies the Rogers graduate as the nation’s No. 1 high jumper. He’ll represent the United States at the IAAF world track and field championships this summer in Moscow.
Kynard, who competed at the NCAA championships a few weeks ago for the last time as a member of Kansas State’s track team, went into the USATF meet wearing Nike apparel. He donned a Carolina blue tank top, navy blue shorts and blue track shoes. His trademark red, white and blue knee-high socks he wore for much of his amateur career were replaced with knee-high white socks.
Kynard was asked after his victory if the patriotic socks were retired since he’s turned pro.
“I don’t know,” Kynard replied, with a laugh. “I [have to] talk to the swoosh. I don’t know how that will go. I’m a company man now.”
He successfully cleared heights without a miss on his first four jumps of the day, which included the winning height. He attempted to clear 2.31 (7-7) on three tries but was unsuccessful.
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