LONDON | Siouxland’s two pole vaulting Olympians failed to qualify on Wednesday for the final round at the London Games.
Jeremy Scott, a native of Norfolk, Neb., hit the qualifying mark of 5.50 meters (approximately 18 feet, ½ inch), but failed to advance because it took him two attempts. Six other vaulters cleared 5.50 on their first attempt.
Derek Miles, a graduate of South Dakota, scratched on all three of his tries at the opening height of 5.20 (17 feet and three quarters of an inch), well under his P.R. of 19 feet, 2.5 inches.
The 39-year-old Miles had been slowed in recent months by an Achilles injury, which one of his coaches thought affected Miles’ performance.
“It was a tough day,” said Lucky Huber, the head USD women’s track coach who has also coached Miles for several years. “The sore Achilles just never allowed Derek to get comfortable. It was obvious that he couldn’t train for the past month.”
Prior to Wednesday’s competition, Miles had made the final round in every world championship or Olympic preliminary that he’d competed in.
This was the third Olympic appearance for Miles, who now coaches pole vaulters and jumpers at his alma mater. The Fair Oaks, Calif., native finished seventh in Athens, Greece, in 2004 and fourth in Beijing, China, in 2008.
Scott, meanwhile, was making his Olympic debut. Standing nearly 6-foot-10, he is the tallest pole vaulter in the world. He was an NCAA Division III national champion at Allegheny College in Mead, Pa.
The United States’ other pole vaulter, Brad Walker, advanced after clearing 5.60 (18 feet, 4½ inches) on his first try.
Friday’s finals are scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT at Olympic Stadium.