Erik Kynard of the United States competes in the Men's High Jump Qualification on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
In the end it will be a 14-man final after the judges decided it would not be necessary to continue after only six men cleared 2.29 and nine more were successful at 2.26.
As it turned out the only man who managed to clear 2.26 not to make the cut was Aleksandr Shushtov who incredibly after jumping 2.35 for third at the Russian national was unable to sail over 2.29 today.
The 28-year-old European champion in Barcelona 2010 went clear at 2.26 with his third attempt but a previous failure at 2.21 would end up costing him a place in a final where the three Russians were expected to rule supreme.
But there will only be two. Defending Olympic champion Andrey Silnov did not have one of his best days as 2.29 proved too high but his second-time clearance at 2.26 eventually proved enough for him to advance.
Meanwhile Russian champion and the season’s world leader at 2.39, Ivan Ukhov was one of only two men clearing 2.29 at his first time of asking and looks poised to go for his first gold medal at a major outdoor championships.
Ukhov’s main challenge in the final will come from Great Britain’s Robert Grabarz the only man to have a clean sheet tonight clearing 2.21, 2.26 and 2.29. Grabarz is having the season of his life having broken his personal best seven times between indoor and outdoor and taken the European title in Helsinki this summer.
Other qualifiers at 2.29 included the reigning World champion Jesse Williams of the US, Ukraine’s Andrey Protsenko from group B and Erik Kynard of the US and Derek Drouin of Canada from group A.
Although unable to sail over 2.29, Jamie Nieto ensured there will be three Americans in the final courtesy of his first-time effort at 2.26.
One to also advance to the final Qatar’s former World Junior champion Mutaz Essa Barshim decided to pass to the next height after failing twice at 2.29 but the gamble wasn’t even necessary and the 21-year-old will be the youngest of the finalists having successfully cleared 2.26 with his second attempt.
Bohdan Bondarenko and Mickael Hanani, the European bronze medallist also needed two tries at 2.26 and will be joined by Canada’s Michael Mason and Cyprus’ Kyriakos Ioannou.
Wanner Miller created his little piece of history as he became the first ever Colombian to qualify for a men’s Athletics track and field final and it came on a night where Caterine Ibargüen took the country’s second ever Olympic medal, the Triple Jump silver.
The major casualties tonight included Daegu bronze medallist Trevor Barry of the Bahamas, 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Jaroslav Baba of the Czech Republic and World Junior record holder Dragutin Topic who bowed out of his sixth Olympic Games at age 41 failing to clear his opening 2.16!
The question now is: will Grabarz improve on Germaine Mason’s silver for Great Britain from Beijing 2008 or will gold remain in Russia’s hands?
But do not rule out any of the other finalists just yet especially none of the Americans who will be looking forward to getting the ultimate prize back to the USA, a feat last achieved by Charles Austin in 1996.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
1999 Galfione on track