Henderson Wins Long Jump In Rio, First Arkansan Track & Field Gold Since '76

Aug 14, 2016

Jeff Henderson takes a victory lap at the Olympic Stadium in Rio De Janeiro after claiming the gold medal in the long jump.
Credit AP / David Goldman

An Arkansan has won gold at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jeff Henderson, 27, of McAlmont, Arkansas finished first in the Men’s Long Jump Saturday night. 

Henderson is a graduate of Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood. He bested U.S. teammate and University of Arkansas athlete Jarrion Lawson in the event. Lawson finished fourth.

Henderson is the first Arkansan to win a track and field gold medal in the Olympics since Maxie Parks, an Arkansas City native, won as part of the Men’s 1600m relay team in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The last time an Arkansan won any medal in the Olympics was 2012, when Michael Tinsley of Little Rock earned  the silver medal in the Men's 400m hurdles at the London games. Tinsley, a graduate of Pulaski Robinson High School,  is competing in the same event in Rio on Monday.

Henderson jumped 27 feet six inches on his sixth and final jump of the night, besting silver medalist Luvo Manyonga of South Africa by half an inch. Greg Rutherford of Great Britain won the bronze medal, after jumping 27 feet two inches and a quarter. Lawson jumped twenty seven feet and three quarters of an inch. Both Lawson and Henderson jumped more than 28 feet at the American Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon in July.

Read more about Arkansans in past Olympics at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.