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U.S. Long Jumper And Medalist Brittney Reese Says It's Time She Gets Some Recognition

U.S. athlete Brittney Reese competes in the women's long jump final at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
David J. Phillip
U.S. athlete Brittney Reese competes in the women's long jump final at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

TOKYO — U.S. long jumper Brittney Reese has been racking up individual championship titles for more than a decade.

Three Olympic medals, including a new silver one on Tuesday. Eight world championship medals.

Is she the best long jumper of all time? "I am," she said. "Point-blank."

Reese, 34, doesn't hold the world record, but she has established herself as an extraordinary athlete over an astonishing number of years.

Now, as she ends her fourth and final Olympics, she thinks it's high time she gets the recognition she deserves.

"You know, if I was on the track side of the sport ... I'd be the Usain Bolt of long jump. But just being on the field events side, you know, it just doesn't get the attention that it deserves," Reese said.

"But I was not placed here for that. I was not placed here for the attention, I was placed here to inspire," she added.

As for ending her four trips to the Olympics with a silver? "I really can't complain. It was a great competition and it was won by inches."

Tara Davis of Team United States competes in the Women's Long Jump Final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Matthias Hangst / Getty Images
Getty Images
Tara Davis of Team USA competes in the women's long jump final of the Tokyo Games.

Reese jumped 6.97 meters, or 22.86 feet. The gold medalist, Germany's Malaika Mihambo, jumped 1.18 inches farther.

But Reese says she's not tempted to come back for another shot at gold. "Everyone knows I have a son, and I think it feels like it's time for me to step away and spend more time with him."

She says she'll be cheering for the young competitors making their mark on the event, like U.S. long jumper Tara Davis, who placed 6th in her Olympic debut.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.