SIOUX FALLS (AP) — South Dakota pole vaulter Derek Miles has qualified for his third Olympics.
The 39-year-old Tea resident and assistant track coach at the University of South Dakota finished fourth in the finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday — one spot away from an advancing top-three spot. However, he qualified for the Summer Games in London because he had previously attained the Olympic “A’ standard height — in Germany about a year ago — while the third-place finisher had not.
“This didn’t happen the way I would have wanted it to happen,” Miles told the Argus Leader newspaper. “But given the circumstances and the conditions, I’ll take it.
“The conditions were really tricky,” he said. “You had rain, you had headwinds, some weird sidewinds — it was a real difficult meet.”
Miles competed at the Olympics in Athens, Greece, in 2004, finishing seventh, and in the 2008 Games in Beijing, China, where he finished fourth, just missing a medal.
The first round of the pole vault competition in London is Aug. 8, which will give Miles more time to recover from a recent Achilles injury.
“I have a month where I can travel, find some people who can help me try to get my Achilles under control,” he said. “Then I’ll still have time to put in some quality training so that hopefully I’ll be able to go into it feeling like I can be very competitive.”