American high jumper Erik Kynard cannot wait to compete in the UK capital again this summer
Having won the overall men’s high jump title in the 2016 IAAF Diamond League, Erik Kynard is already sure of his place at the IAAF World Championships.
That London is hosting the event is a big plus in his eyes. “It is hard to beat UK Athletics for hosting any event,” he said. “Doha is a great meet, Lausanne and Brussels, but in the UK the fans are exceptional, the facilities are exceptional and as long as the weather is co-operative, competing in London is hard to beat.”
The American, who won silver at the London Olympics, added: “London will upstage itself from the last time around and then the World Indoors in Birmingham in 2018 will upstage London. It is a continuing saga as far as I am concerned.”
Kynard’s love of London is based partly on a positive 2012 experience. “It was my first Olympic Games and I remember a lot,” he explains. “First and foremost it was an honour to be there. It was the Olympic Games and the stage was so large. It was surreal and a very humbling experience as you experienced something like that for the first time.
“I was 21 and still in college at the time. The expectations I had for myself far exceeded the expectations that the world had for me. To represent my country and win a silver medal was great.”
Kynard jumped 2.33m to take silver behind Ivan Ukhov of Russia with Robbie Grabarz close behind sharing bronze with Derek Drouin of Canada and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar.
“The people of London were very welcoming,” he recalls. “I remember leaving the Olympic village and going to the mall [Westfield]. It was madness but we enjoyed it – the athletes who had finished competing going over there and shopping and being part of the chaos – and seemingly creating some of the chaos. It was very exciting.”
His 2016 experience is a good example of how cruel and unpredictable high jump can be. In London he jumped 2:33m and won a medal. In Rio he cleared 2.33 again and the height was beaten by only two jumpers, but he finished sixth. Four athletes cleared 2.33m: Kynard, Bohdan Bondarenko and Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine and Grabarz, with Bondarenko taking bronze on countback and the others missing out.
Kynard will be in the mix in London in what he sees as the most competitive high jump competition ever. Now how do we get the British weather to be co-operative?
» The 2017 World Para Athletics Championships from July 14-23 and the IAAF World Championships from August 4-13 will bring together 3000 athletes from more than 200 countries. It will be the first time the two events will be hosted by the same city in the same summer. Buy tickets at paraathleticschampionships.com and iaafworldchampionships.com