Cal Track and Field: Volunteer Coach Tianna Bartoletta Denied in Bid for 3rd Olympics

The 2016 Rio gold medalist in the long jump finishes 10th at the U.S. Trials.
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Tianna Bartoletta’s long-shot bid to earn her third trip to the Olympics ended Saturday night at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

The 35-year-old, who served as a volunteer assistant coach at Cal this spring, finished 10th in the long jump, missing the chance to go to Tokyo next month and try to defend her gold medal from the 2016 Rio Games.

Bartoletta leaped 21 feet, 5 1/2 inches (6.54 meters) on her first attempt, matching her season best she accomplished in the Thursday prelims. That was her best mark since 2018.

But she was nowhere near the three women who qualified for the U.S. team, led by Brittany Reese, the 2012 Olympic champ and silver-medal winner from 2016. Reese won with a jump of 23-4 3/4 (7.13 meters) to beat NCAA champion Tara Davis of Texas, the runner-up at 23-1 3/4 (7.04).

Third place went to Quanseha Burks, who leaped a personal-best 22-10 (6.96).

Bartoletta jumped 20-3 3/4 and 20-6 1/2 on her subsequent two attempts, but because she was not among the top nine she did not get three more tries.

Bartoletta, who competed collegiately at Tennessee, quietly assembled an impressive Olympic resume that includes three gold medals.

Only three women — all of them Americans — have won more than three Olympic gold medals in the sport: Allyson Felix (6), Evelyn Ashford (4) and Sanya Richards-Ross (4).

Bartoletta jumped a career-long 23-6 1/2 (7.17 meters) to win the Rio gold and also ran on winning 4x100 relays both at London in 2012 and four years later. In 2012, she ran the leadoff leg in a foursome also including Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter that set a world record of 40.82 seconds.

But in 2017, Bartoletta began experiencing a series of health issues that included extra-long menstrual periods, dizziness, fatigue and an ankle injury. Initially, she was diagnosed as having extreme anemia.

After failing to make the team for the 2019 World Championships, doctors finally discovered a benign tumor in her uterus that required emergency surgery.

After track was shutdown by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Bartoletta worked to get back to the Olympics this summer. She entered Saturday night's long jump final with the second-best personal best in the field of 12 jumpers but the worst season best.

The Paris Games are just three years away, but Bartoletta will be 38 by then.

Meanwhile, DeAnna Price twice broke her own American record to capture the women’s hammer throw title at the trials. The 2019 world champion's winning throw sailed 263-6 (80.31 meters).

Price will lead a team of the world’s three highest-ranked hammer throwers into Tokyo. Also qualifying were Brooke Anderson and Gwen Berry. They remain the only three throwers in the world this season with better marks than Cal’s two-time reigning NCAA champion Camryn Rogers, who will represent Canada at the Games.

Cover photo of Tianna Bartoletta by Kirby Lee, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo