LONDON - Russia's Ivan Ukhov won Olympic men's high jump gold on Tuesday, making light of the drizzly conditions to notch the second highest jump in the world this year of 2.38 metres. America's Erik Kynard took silver with 2.33m, with the bronze medal split three ways between Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, Derek Drouin of Canada and Great Britain's Robbie Grabarz.
The long-haired Ukhov, who stands at six feet four inches (1.92m), last month cleared 2.39m to win the Russian championships, the highest jump in 2012. "I am very happy with the gold medal. I had a long way to go, that's it," he said, adding the damp conditions had not put him off. I don't like the rain. I was preparing for wet weather, mentally. The rain did not distract me, and it wasn't a rainstorm."
"I could have set another Olympic record tonight if I had not been stopped. When the journalists started to trespass on the track (after his winning jump), I decided not to jump further." The 26-year-old's previous major victories have all come indoors, at the 2010 world indoor championships as well as at the 2009 and 2011 European indoors. One of Ukhov's previous claims to fame was a huge YouTube hit of him performing in a competition while drunk. The winning jump for the Russian, who holds the national sports title of an "honoured master of sport" was the best in an Olympic Games final since 1996, when American Charles Austin reached 2.39m.
Kynard, a student at Kansas State University, said: "It was the most humbling and greatest defeat I have ever had. Actually, I won't say defeat, it was the greatest loss I have ever had." "I'm young, I'll be around for a while, I'm blessed and I did my best."
I've come a long way and I'm just 21 years old." Barshim's bronze was only Qatar's second ever Olympic medal in athletics and the country's fourth in any sport. Qatari shooter Nasser al-Attiyah won a bronze in men's skeet earlier in the London Games. "Wonderful, great, everything great, he said. "I'm just so happy that I just went there, performed well and got myself a medal so it's just amazing. I want to get home and celebrate with my people," said Barshim.
Grabarz, who posed for gay magazine 'Attitude' because he wanted to appeal to gay fans, became Britain's first European high jump champion since 1950 when he won in Helsinki earlier this season.
He said it was going to be busy on the podium but "as long as we get a medal each and we don't have to split it, we'll be all right." Beijing 2008 gold medallist Andrey Silnov of Russia and 2011 world champion Jesse Williams of the United States both failed at 2.29m