Just wasn’t meant to be for Amy Acuff

August, 9, 2012
8/09/12
10:39
AM ET

This was high jumper Amy Acuff’s fifth time at the Summer Olympics, and, for once, there was also summerlike weather Thursday to go along with it.

“I had to come to London to get a day that it wasn’t pouring rain,’’ Acuff said. “Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing -- all pouring rain for the qualification for the high jump. But London! Sunny, perfect!’’

Well, perfect except for one minor detail. Her performance. Acuff missed three times at 1.9 meters and did not qualify for the final.

“The performance was a disaster,’’ she said. “The first day off the plane, I dragged myself out and jumped higher than that. I don’t understand what the deal was out there. Sometimes that happens in the high jump. Rarely me, though.

“I’m sure some people will say, ‘Oh, she’s old; she’s decaying.’ But the irony here is I was in really, really good form. The world will never see it, though.’’

Despite competing in five Olympics, Acuff has never won a medal. “You always want what you don’t have, and I was really hoping for a medal here,’’ she said. “My practices had been going so well, and I really can’t understand why I couldn’t do such a basic height today.’’

Beijing looked as if it would be Acuff’s last Olympics when she retired to have a child (a daughter, Elsa). But a year later, she got the itch to compete and decided to come back. Despite her age, 37, she was jumping as well as ever. Until Thursday.

“Her career has been phenomenal,’’ said Chaunte Lowe, who qualified for the final with fellow American Brigetta Barrett by jumping 1.93. “She has five Olympic teams under her belt, and, from the looks of it, she can go another one if she wants.’’

Acuff, however, said she isn’t sure about Rio -- or anything else in her future, for that matter. “I haven’t thought that far ahead. I was still thinking about Saturday and being in the finals.’’

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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