Williams scrapes in
World champion high jumper almost misses out on selection
Last Updated: June 26, 2012 10:48am
Jesse Williams: Backdoor qualification
World champion high jumper Jesse Williams qualified for the US Olympic team on Monday - but only by the skin of his teeth.
Williams finished fourth at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials and, with only the top three due to earn the right to compete in London, should have missed out.
But the 28-year-old Californian scraped in through the back door because third place finisher had failed to achieve the Olympic "A'' standard.
Jamie Nieto won the event and Erik Kynard took second in rainy conditions to book their places for London.
But Williams could only watch helplessly as Ross made three attempts to clear the 2.31 meters qualifying height, unable to anything other than hope his rival failed.
"For me not to be on the team would be a disaster. It almost didn't happen for me. I've never been in a situation quite that dramatic, wishing someone to miss."
Jesse Williams Quotes of the week
"For me not to be on the team would be a disaster," he said. "It almost didn't happen for me."
"I've never been in a situation quite that dramatic, wishing someone to miss. He had some really good jumps at 2.31.
"I was sitting there thinking, 'Miss them.' Normally I don't think that during competitions. Normally I don't put myself in that kind of distress."
Williams admitted it had not been way he had wanted to make the squad and vowed train more in the rain, especially because this just might be the type of weather he encounters in London.
"Sometimes in the rain something can go a little off," he said. "I wasn't able to get in the right position for my take-off. I did a lot of things wrong.
"When I do these things well, I'll perform well. When you start forcing things, when you try to muscle over, things go wrong. I became a jumper, not a high jumper."
"Not the prettiest way, but I did it," he added. "These conditions, they were tough. It was difficult for me to get in a groove and jump to my capabilities.
"The whole goal was to make London and now I'm there and I want to get on top of the podium. This is not deterring my goal."