Drouin wins 1st world title in a jump-off after 3-way tie
BEIJING (AP) The situation wasn't ideal. The gold medal is.
With the world high jump title hinging on a jump-off in front of a raucous crowd at the Bird's Nest chanting for his Chinese rival, Derek Drouin needed to dig deep to find an advantage somewhere.
In the deep recesses of his memory, he said he recalled a jump-off against a teammate at the very beginning of his high jump career. And when it came down to breaking a three-way tie for first on Sunday, that experience as a teenager helped.
After missing four attempts at 2.36 meters in the wet conditions - including one in the knockout round with the runners in last track event of the championships milling all around him - the bar was lowered to 2.34 meters.
Drouin cleared it on the first go.
Bohdan Bondarenko, the 2013 world champion, and Zhang Guowei of China both missed, rushing as the starters in the 4x400-meter relay were preparing to get into the blocks. They shared silver after missing their attempts.
Neither of them had any experience of being in a jump-off to determine victory.
''I really felt like I was the one to beat. I felt like this was my championship to lose based on how I was jumping coming in,'' Drouin said of his first world title. ''I told myself so many times, `You can win this. You can win this.' When it finally happened, it was just a relief.''
Drouin's victory followed bronze medals at the Olympics and world championships. In April 2014, he became just the 10th man to clear 2.40 meters, so he had reason to be confident.
The gold medal was Canada's second of the worlds and eighth overall, good enough for seventh place in the medal standings.
China won nine medals, but only one gold. So the big Chinese crowd came into play in the jump-off.
''I felt like it was an unfortunate situation being in a jump-off with (Zhang), because obviously no one is going for you,'' Drouin said. ''I maybe would have started a clap if I'd thought people were going to jump on board, but it's the advantage of home soil. He got that opportunity this time.
''I was able to work with what I had, what was dealt me. It's so hard not get over-amped in a situation like that.''