Ukhov soars to high jump gold for Russia

Russian high jumper Ivan Ukhov soared to Olympic gold on Tuesday, clearing 2.38 meters to pip Erik Kynard of the United States to the title. Ukhov entered the competition as hot favorite after posting a world-leading 2.39 in Cheboksary, Russia, in March, and justified the tag by clearing five consecutive heights with just one fail.

Kynard cleared 2.33 before knocking the bar over at 2.36, 2.38 and 2.40.

There was a three-way tie for bronze among Derek Drouin of Canada, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, and Britain's Robert Grabarz, who all jumped 2.29.

Ukhov's was Russia's 9th gold medal of the Olympic Games.

"When I came to the stadium this morning, I just wanted to jump," he said. "After the first jump, it came very easy for me."

There was a moment of panic when Ukhov misplaced his bib.

"I kept jumping higher, but then at the 2.33m bar I could not find my T-shirt with my bib, and [fellow Russian jumper] Andrey Silnov had to lend me his."

Kynard was surprised he had managed to keep calm for his first Olympics.

"My first Olympics means a lot to me. I would love to have brought home a gold. I've got a long way to go," he said. "My nerves were fine, I just sat there being cool, calm and collected to keep my composure."

Grabarz, meanwhile, couldn't quite believe what he had achieved.

"A bronze medal, I'm over the moon. If someone had said I'd get a medal at the 2012 Olympics I would not have believed it."

First published in RIA Novosti.

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