Georgia Tech grad Chaunte (Howard) Lowe sailed through her qualifying round of the women’s high jump Thursday morning at the Olympics.
Lowe, the American record holder with the second best jump in the world this year, cleared 1.85, 1.9 and 1.93 meters (approximately 6 feet, 6-2 ¾ and 6-4) in three successive attempts to gain the Saturday final with 11 other jumpers. The field will include the world No. 1 this year, Russian Anna Chicherova.
“Her goal is to win a gold medal,” said her coach Nat Page, the Tech track and field assistant, prior to the Olympics. “She’s jumped extremely well. … (Lowe has) put up more consistent marks than anyone in the world.”
Lowe, who won silver at the 2005 world championships and was the world indoor champion earlier this year, is at her third Olympics but seeking her first Olympic medal. Her best jump this season is 2.01 meters (6-7 ¼).
Prior to the Olympics, Page thought 2.03 or 2.04 meters would take gold. Lowe’s personal best is 2.05. Lowe is competing 16 months after giving birth to her second child. After Aurora was born in April 2011, she began training last September, despite the fact that Aurora had to be fed around the clock because she was born underweight.
“She would still will herself to come out and train as hard as she could possibly train,” Page said. “She would always say, ‘If I can do this on four hours sleep, just think what I can do when I can get some rest.’”
The U.S. men’s 4×400-meter relay finished second in qualifying Thursday for the Friday final. Former Tech All-American Angelo Taylor did not run, but is a strong candidate to be added for the finals. He is seeking his fourth overall Olympic gold, with two in the 400 hurdles (2000, 2008) and one in the 4×400 (2008).
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog