Gulfport native Brittney Reese takes silver in long jump in final Olympic Games
Former Gulfport High, MGCCC, and Ole Miss track and field star Brittney Reese is bringing yet another Olympic medal home to the Magnolia state.
“We were so proud of her. I definitely was. I think everybody in Gulfport was proud of her.” Tuesday in Tokyo, Team USA Long Jumper and Gulfport native Brittney Reese stepped up onto the podium in her fourth and final Olympic games, claiming silver with a 6.97-meter leap. “I was really pleased with that. I tried to jump further than that, but you know things happen differently. But I knew that 6.97 would put me where I needed to be on the stand.”
The seven-time World Champion has tallied a long list of achievements throughout her career, including three Olympic Medals as well as setting the American Women’s Indoor Long Jump record of 7.23 meters. “If I was in the track part of track and field, I would be the Usain Bolt. So, for me, I’m the Usain Bolt of the long jump. I have just as many accolades as he has– except a world record– but I have the medals he has and has achieved a lot that he has achieved on the track and I’ve done that in the sand pit.”
Ever since becoming NCAA long jump champion 14 years ago, the 34-year-old Reese has held her spot as one of the top long jumpers in the world year in and year out. “That’s a part of my legacy. The longevity that I’ve had in the sport and how I’ve been able to find a way onto the medal stand every single time.”
While Reese has been competing on the world stage since 2007, she took her first hop into the sand pit in 2003 during her junior year at Gulfport High School. Coach Prince Jones said, “She said coach Jones I can do it. And I said oh fine go. She jumped the first time like 17.5 feet. And I said Coach Floyd I didn’t read that tape right. Coach said you read it right.”
The rest is history. “I’m not in sports for the fame and the glory. I’m in this sport to inspire. I think God placed me here to inspire. To be a good role model to young kids. And I feel like I have fulfilled that debt or that dream or whatever you want to call it, that God has put me here for.”
Reese says this will be her last Olympics, however, she hasn’t decided if she will fully retire just yet.