CLEMSON – Former Clemson All-American George Kitchens became the first athlete with ties to Clemson track & field to qualify for the Team USA squad headed to London, England this summer for the Olympic Games.
Kitchens, who jumped for the Tigers from 2002-05, surpassed the “A” standard for London with a personal best jump of 26’11.25” on his third attempt Sunday at Oregon’s Hayward Field and finished in third place at the Olympic Trials.
After grabbing his ticket to London, Kitchens said “I knew the talent was there. I continued to jump well. I’ve been doing this for a while. I’m happy I came through to prove myself.”
Kitchens is the fourth Clemson athlete to qualify for the London Games, all from the Tiger track & field program. Warren Fraser (Bahamas), Patricia Mamona (Portugal) and Marlena Wesh (Haiti) have all qualified. Kitchens will team with Marquise Goodwin and Will Claye to represent the red, white and blue in the men’s long jump. He is the first long jumper from the Tiger men’s program to advance to the Olympic Games.
Kitchens, who trained in Clemson after his collegiate eligibility expired and finished third at the USA Outdoor Championships in 2009, hit a mark of 26’3.75” on his second attempt to move into the top three Sunday.
He improved on the mark with the A standard leap of 26’11.25” in the final preliminary attempt, solidifying his position.
His mark held through the finals, where five competitors behind him tried to knock him out of third but all fell short.
Kitchens said, “I do want to give an honor to God. Without Him, I wouldn’t be here. Everything mentally was
on making this team. I was expecting this win.”