Texas Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin finished 10th out of 12 finalists in the final round of Olympic long jumping on Saturday on a disappointing day that saw him fail to qualify for the final three jumps.
After his third and final jump, Goodwin fell to his knees with his head in his hands, a somber reminder of the stakes at hand and expectations upon him. Expectations he no doubt placed upon himself.
On Friday, Goodwin needed only a single 8.11m jump (26-7) to qualify for the finals Saturday, which were won by Greg Rutherford of Great Britain with a jump of 8.31 (27-3.25).
Why were expectations so high for Goodwin? Well, he won the NCAA outdoor national championship this year with a jump of 27-0, then qualified for the Olympics with a personal best of 27-4, a mark that would have won him the gold medal at these games. On his good days, he's as good as the best in the world. Saturday was not his best day.
The first jump for Goodwin was his best, but he faulted when his foot was over the line. On his second, he gave himself too much room for error and took off early, but still managed a 7.80m (25-7.25) jump that put him in ninth place. A final effort was even shorter and left him short of the extra three attempts reserved for the top eight.
The hardest part of all this is that Goodwin will have to return home knowing that an effort closer to what he is used to achieving in such events would have likely put him on the medal stand. The good news is that he should have another shot in 2016.
And he still has his senior season on the football field left, too, after finishing the 2011 season strong with 23 of his 33 receptions and both his touchdowns coming after October. Last season, he didn't join the football team until after the first game due to his attendance at the World Championship and planning a redshirt. This year, he'll have almost the entirety of fall practice to get into football shape.
Hold your head and horns high on your way back to Austin, Marquise, and get ready to strap that helmet on.