Olympics

Family, friends cheer on Brittney Reese in Gulfport

GULFPORT - Suspense quickly gave way to relief Tuesday night for Brittney Reese's sister, Kimyata Young.

Young, who gathered with friends and family for a viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings, watched Reese's first attempt in the women's long jump on a laptop. She instantly knew that Reese qualified for the final round when she saw her official distance pop on the screen.

The Gulfport native jumped 6.78 meters Tuesday night on her first try, putting her immediately through to the medal round, which begins at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

"I was pretty sure she'd make it on the first jump," Young said. "That's her goal, to do it on the first jump. Hopefully, it will be the same thing tomorrow night. First jump, take it all."

Reese is seeking her second gold medal after winning the gold medal in the long jump in London in 2012.

Reese, who competed at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC and Ole Miss, appeared at ease during competition and was smiling as she put on her warm-up suit after one jump while others tried to top her mark.

"That's her being her, Young said. "I text her today, 'You got this, be you and have fun.'"

Brittney Reese's mother, Carla Young, landed in Rio late Monday night and was on hand Tuesday to watch her compete.

Kimyata Young said that Reese has slightly been under the weather this as week as she prepared for competition.

"She told me the other night that she caught a slight cold from the rain and then it got hot," Kimyata Young said. "It made her a little under the weather, but she said she was feeling fine today, just a little bit congested. I couldn't tell she was sick because she just came out and did what she was had to do." Gulfport mayor Billy Hewes was also on hand for the viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings.

"She's a really a great ambassador," He said of Reese. "She's proud of where she's from and we're clearly proud of her. For her to perform like this on a national stage bringing it home time after time, she keeps giving us a reason to celebrate."

The suspense will grow for Reese's family Wednesday night as she aims to repeat history.

"I'm praying for Gold, but if she doesn't get gold I'll love her anyway," Kimyata Young said with a wide smile and a laugh.

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