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Tianna Bartoletta edged out defending Olympic champion and United States team mate Brittney Reese with a personal best leap of 7.17 to land the women’s long jump gold medal. Bartoletta, the reigning world champion, produced her top mark in the fifth and penultimate round after the slow-starting Reese had taken the lead with a 7.09 leap in the same round. Reese, who has won more global long jump titles than any other woman, had one last chance to snatch gold, but her final round jump of 7.15 was just shy of her compatriot’s mark and had to settle for a silver.

Bartoletta, who secured the title by 2cm, said: “I kept thinking that at any moment someone can jump something huge. This medal means a lot. This year didn’t go smoothly. It had lots of ups and downs and rough patches, so it really feels good.”

It was a second Olympic gold medal for Bartoletta, who was part of the US team who won the 4x100m sprint relay at the London 2012 Games. Bartoletta also competed in the 100m sprint, where she disappointed herself by failing to make the final. The day after her long jump gold medal, she will start the defence of the London relay title.

In addition, the Olympic champion took up bobsled in 2012, which has helped with her long jump: “I got really fast on the track and I translated that speed to the long jump approach. Launching myself into the back of that bobsled was an ultimate step and I had plenty of incentive to nail it because bobsleds accelerate downhill. With that repetition on the ice, I was able to get back into long jump easier.”

“For Tianna to go out and throw up a big jump is really good and it just shows how dominant the USA is in jumps,” silver medallist Reese said. “Tianna just out-jumped me this time. She deserves it and I’m just glad to be on the podium again.”

Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic took bronze with a national record of 7.08. The reigning European champion and two-time world championship bronze medallist said: “I am very happy to be here, to fight with these girls for the medals. The competition in the end was good and I am very glad to have won a medal for my country. This was the one and only medal I didn’t have in my collection. I’m really happy that I finally have it but I’m not satisfied with my bronze. I guess you need some luck. I didn’t have it but that is the beauty of the sport.”.