Chris Nilsen of the Coyotes, who set an Olympic record in the pole vault, won silver in Tokyo.
C. Nilsen Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The best pole vaulter in South Dakota State University annals, Chris Nilsen, is now firmly established as the world’s number two.
Nilsen, a three-time NCAA champion, placed second in the men’s pole vault final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday night.
He placed second after jumping 5.97 metres (19.58 feet), which is a few inches higher than the South Dakota school record of 19.46 feet he achieved last season. Nilsen’s silver medal performance was the best by a U.S. athlete since 2004.
Nilsen’s chase of gold came to an end after he failed to clear the height of 6.02 metres (19.75 feet) on any of his three tries.
This allowed Armand Duplantis of Sweden to win the Gold.
Nilsen told Duplantis on air that he had beaten him in “the good old days,” referring to their earlier meeting in the 2019 NCAA outdoor pole vault final.
I’ve never been more excited,” Nilsen exclaimed to Duplantis after the round. I couldn’t be more excited for you, man.
Nilsen comfortably jumped over the first height of 5.55 metres, but he ran into his first difficulty when the bar was raised to 5.80 metres in Tokyo.
Nilsen had a wobbly start, fell short, and then apparently gave up on the climb, slamming the bar off the handles with his back. His first shot in Tokyo ended in failure.
On his second try at the same height, though, he flexed and yelled as he cleared the bar while still remaining parallel to the ground.
Next, he leapt 5.87 metres with ease (19.26 feet). Then, on his second try, he leapt over the bar at 5.92 metres (19.4 feet). After eliminations, just eight remained. In that case, number four.
The silver medalist from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Renaud Lavillenie, who was suffering from an ankle ailment on Tuesday morning, saw his third attempt at 5.92 metres fail, giving Nilsen the chance to finish in third place. Nilsen puffed out his chest, shouting.
Nilsen, who could feel that he was approaching his best performance, nonetheless managed to successfully jump over 5.97 on his first try, at which point he pulled his hair back and jumped for joy. Whereas Nilsen just just missed on two of his three attempts at 6.02 metres, Duplantis easily jumped over 5.97.
“It’s right there,” Nilsen stated after his initial try.
Nilsen had a total of five misses in Tokyo, including his last three. Nilsen, at age 23, will be one of the younger athletes in the competition and will have a shot to participate in the 2024 Olympics.
Nilsen’s coach, Derek Miles, qualified for three Olympics and won bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, making Nilsen the fourth Olympian in USD history.