Dan O'Brien, whose career was sidetracked when he failed to qualify for the Barcelona Olympics, hit misfortune again Saturday when he no-heighted in the high jump in the Stockholm International decathlon competition.
"Don't count me out. I'll be back," said O'Brien, who missed an Olympic trip when he failed to clear the bar in the pole vault during the U.S. Olympic trials. On Saturday, in the Olympic Stadium where Jim Thorpe won decathlon and pentathlon golds in the 1912 Games, O'Brien failed in the high jump.
The 26-year-old Oregonian failed to clear 6 feet 6 1/4 inches in his first two jumps, then decided to pass his third attempt, zeroing out of the competition. He complained he had injured a foot in the long jump, the previous event of the 10-event, two-day competition.
O'Brien's coach, Mike Keller, had promised that O'Brien would "give the world record a hell of a shot." It looked promising after O'Brien won the opening event, the 100-meter dash, in 10.41 seconds, .09 faster than his time in the Olympic trials.
But after a disappointing jump of 23-2 1/2 on his first long jump, he hurt his left ankle while fouling on his second attempt, and had to settle for a best of 24-7 that was almost two feet short of his personal high of 26-6 1/2.
"I aggravated my old foot injury on the takeoff for my second attempt in the long jump," O'Brien said. "The original injury happened when I slipped during javelin practice a few weeks before the Olympic trials, and it has been a nagging injury."