Fourth And Fifth Place Good Enough For Some Local Olympic Hopefuls

Jun 26, 2012

A fourth or fifth place finish tends to bring excruciating disappointment at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Top three qualify for the Summer Olympics, normally. But fourth and fifth place was good enough Monday night for two Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse has the explanation from the track and field team trials in Eugene.

Eugene-based high jumper Jesse Williams and javelin thrower Cyrus Hostetler benefited from what Hostetler calls “a fluke.” Usually at the track & field team trials, top three advance to the Summer Games; everyone else goes home. But there’s this hitch. The International Olympic Committee has its own minimum thresholds for the London Games (known in track lingo as the Olympic ‘A’ standard). If a top three finisher at the U.S. Team Trials hasn’t achieved that standard, a lower finisher who has can take the Olympic slot. And that’s why fifth place in javelin still means a ticket to London for Hostetler.

Hostetler: “It’s the bittersweet way of going. It’s definitely not what you want.”

Fourth place was good enough for high jumper Jesse Williams.

Williams: “I’m very fortunate. I know a lot of those guys’ hearts are broken right now. But I’m ecstatic of course. I’m going to London!”

Both of these local athletes are naturally hoping to place higher at the Summer Olympics. I’m Tom Banse in Eugene.

Northwest Public Radio