GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU Media Relations) – East Carolina senior jumper Avion Jones will attempt to become the third Olympian in program history this weekend when he competes in the high jump at the United States Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Qualifying jumps begin Friday at 7 p.m. while the top 12 remaining athletes will move on to the finals Sunday at 6 p.m. The finals are scheduled to be broadcast live on NBC. The top three finishers in each event, so long as they have met the Olympic qualifying standard, will automatically earn spots on Team USA for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Jones is one of 26 declared athletes in the high jump field and has the second-highest mark at 2.31 meters (7’7”). He has already surpassed the Olympic qualifying standard of 2.29 meters set by the International Association of Athletics Federations. A total of seven participants have reached the qualifying standard entering the Trials.
A four-time NCAA All-America performer, Jones hit his 2.31-meter mark at the American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships in Orlando back in May. At that time, the jump was the second highest recorded in the world in 2016. He would go on to place fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, clearing 2.19 meters.
A former Pirate has already secured his ticket to Rio. Lashawn Merritt won the 400-meter event Sunday in a time of 43.97. He is the first athlete in the world this year to finish the race faster than 44 seconds. Merritt, the gold medalist in the 400m and 4×400 relay at the 2008 Beijing Games, also looks to qualify for Rio in the 200m. That final is scheduled for Saturday.