UPDATED: Brittney Reese says she's upset, but happy

August 22, 2008 

Gulfport's Brittney Reese finished fifth in the Olympic women's long jump finals in Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium. Her best jump in six rounds was 22 feet, 2-1/4 inches.

"I'm a little bit upset," she said, "but I'm also happy I had the chance to come here."

She opened with a jump of 21 feet, 10 inches and improved on her second leap to 22, 2-1/4 inches, but her third jump was a poor one and she fouled on her fourth. Reese jumped 21 feet, 2-1/2 inches in the fifth round, finishing with a jump of 21 feet, 10-3/4 inches.

"Right after the second jump," she said. "I knew it wasn't going to be my day."

Brazil's Maurren Higa Maggi won with a jump of 23 feet, 1-1/4 inches, which came on her first jump.

Russia's Tatyana Lebedeva narrowly missed gold with a jump of 23 feet, 3/4 inch on her last attempt. Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare won bronze at 22 feet, 8 inches.

The top eight competitors after three jumps earned three more attempts.

Reese qualified with the best jump Tuesday, leaping 22 feet, 6-1/2 inches. The effort was only three inches short of the personal best by former Gulfport High and Ole Miss.

The field was weakened after Ukraine's Lyudmila Blonska was kicked out of the Olympics after failing a drug test. She was stripped of her Olympic heptathlon silver medal, the highest profile athlete kicked out of the Beijing Games so far for doping.

The International Olympic Committee said Blonska tested positive for the steroid methyltestosterone after finishing second in the heptathlon final last Saturday behind fellow Ukrainian Nataliia Dobrynska.

She was temporarily suspended by the IOC on Thursday, and her medal was officially removed Friday by the IOC executive board.

Blonska, who blamed her coach and husband for the positive test, was also dropped from the long jump final after finishing third in qualifying earlier in the week.

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