Rain adds to Amy Acuff's pain
BEIJING -- Another big meet disappointment for four-time Olympian Amy Acuff in what she said will probably be her last Summer Games.
"I don't think I will miss being in pain every day like I have been for the past eight years,'' said Acuff, 33, a Texan who now lives in Isleton, Calif.
The ex-UCLA high jumper, fourth in the 2004 Olympics, knew it wasn't going to be her day when she saw the rain falling Thursday morning.
"Being a taller [6-feet-2], faster jumper, I found it really hard to fall back without slipping,'' Acuff said. "It was really tough conditions.''
Acuff finished ninth in her qualifying group with a jump of 6-2 1/4, going out of the competition at the height she made (6-feet, 4 inches) to finish second in the U.S. Olympic trials. A clearance at 6-4 would have put her in the Saturday final.
"I guess I just feel inadequate right now,'' she said.
Acuff has been a leading U.S. jumper for more than a decade, winning six national titles outdoors and four indoors. She competed in seven straight world outdoor meets, never finishing higher than eighth, and three world indoor meets, where her top finish was fourth.
"I don't regret anything,'' Acuff said.
One of the three U.S. jumpers made the final -- Chaunte Howard, who prepped at J.W. North in Riverside. She cleared 6-feet-4.
"It was the first time I had to jump in the rain,'' Howard said. "It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.''
Sharon Day of Costa Mesa failed to advance, going out a 6-2 1/4.
-- Philip Hersh
Photo: Amy Acuff did not make it through the women's high jump qualifying. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images