In the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Stephanie Brown Trafton won the women's discus on her first throw of the finals.
Today, Trafton needed a big final throw in qualifying at the London Olympics just to make Saturday's final and she did just that.
Sitting in 15th place entering her last throw, the Arroyo Grande High and Cal Poly graduate uncorked a throw of 212 feet, 10 inches to move to fifth place overall and better the automatic qualifying standard of 206-8. Only the 12 top advanced to Saturday's finals, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. PDT.
Meanwhile, former Cal Poly star Sharon Day was unable to overcome a subpar performance in the high jump and is in 18th place in the women's heptathlon after today's first four events with 3,740 points in the 39-person field.
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In the discus, Cuba's Yarelys Barrios was the top qualifier at 216-4, followed closely by German's Nadine Muller (216-2) and Croatia's Sandra Perkovic (215-8). Russia's Darya Pishchalnikova was the fourth qualifier at 213-4, followed by Trafton and then China's Yanfeng Li (211-6).
Trafton became only the second American to win the discus at the Olympics when she was a surprise winner in 2008 and was the first U.S. Olympic medalist in the event since 1984. This is her third Olympics; in 2004 in Athens, Greece, she was 21st overall and didn't advance to the finals.
This is Day's second appearance in the Olympics after she competed in the high jump in Beijing in 2008. But today, it was the high jump that was her undoing in the Olympics as she only cleared 5-9 3/4, well off her best of 6-4 3/4.
Day set a personal record of 13.57 seconds in the 100 hurdles and was close to her PRs in the shot put and 200 with marks of 46-10 1/4 and 24.36 seconds, respectively. But Day lost about 100 points of what she was expected to get in the high jump. For example, a clearance of 6-0 3/4 would have given her another 100 points and a clearance of 6-2 would have given her another 140 points.
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis, the favorite, easily leads the competition with 4,158 points with Lithuania's Austra Skujyte second at 3,974. Hyleas Fountain, the silver medalist in Beijing who beat Day at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, is fifth with 3,900 points.