On This Day: Keturah Orji Flew In Rio

Keturah Orji introduced herself to the world on August 14, 2016.

That was the day when Orji finished just three centimeters from the podium in the women’s triple jump at the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Collegiate track & field fans already knew about Orji’s prowess on the runway after she won three NCAA titles in her first two years. Orji captured her first NCAA crown in 2015 and after she grabbed the indoor version in 2016, she doubled back in Eugene, Oregon, with a masterful performance where she bounded 14.53m (47-8) for what had been the American record.

Then, after winning her first of an unprecedented four consecutive U.S. outdoor titles, Orji turned her attention to the international stage.

It didn’t take long for Orji to star under the bright lights.

The University of Georgia standout easily punched her ticket to the final and once in that final, she thrived. The future winner of The Bowerman opened with a mark of 14.71m (48-3¼) to smash her own American record and set the current All-Dates Collegiate Best.

Orji ended Round 1 in second place, but after two fouls on her next two attempts, she fell out of medal contention. Eventual winner Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia took the lead for good on her second attempt and Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela leapfrogged Orji and bronze medalist Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan on her third attempt.

Although Orji wasn’t able to get back into medal contention on her final three attempts, she did notch some more marks on the All-Dates Collegiate Chart. Her fourth attempt of 14.50m (47-7) is currently ranked sixth, while her 14.40m (47-3) and 14.39m (47-2½) on her fifth and sixth attempts, currently rank 10th and 11th on the list.