Gulfport native Brittney Reese didn’t mess around Tuesday.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Ole Miss graduate qualified for the women’s long jump finals at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with her first jump, traveling 6.78 meters.
The 29-year-old Reese was the first jumper Tuesday to automatically qualify. Of the 12 qualifiers, Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic had the longest jump of the night at 6.87 meters. Germany’s Malaika Mihambo jumped 6.82 meters.
While fellow American Tianna Bartoletta (6.70) placed fifth Tuesday, Janay Deloach (6.50) just missed qualifying.
The women’s finals are set for 7:15 p.m. Wednesday and will be televised on NBC.
For Reese, a gold in Rio would make her the first woman ever to repeat in the event and just the second to win two golds in a career. Reese took home gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. The Associated Press projected Reese to win.
Also Tuesday: Former Southern Miss standout Tori Bowie qualified for the women’s 200-meter final on Wednesday after winning her semifinal group with a time of 22.13 seconds. Bowie is set to race at 8:30 p.m.