Team USA high jumper Erik Kynard Jr., known among Olympic Games track and field fans as a Kobe Bryant look-a-like, stamped a name for himself on Aug. 7, winning the silver medal in the men’s high jump during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Kynard, a 6-foot-4-inch, 20-year-old Kansas State University student, won the silver with a jump of 2.33 meters (7 feet, 7.5 inches), the second best jump of his career. He said he had hoped a victory in his event would cast him out of the shadows of the National Basketball Association (NBA) star Kobe Bryant.
“I tried to win the gold so I could let the world know my name is Erik Kynard, Jr., not Kobe Jr.” Kynard said to reporters after the event. “But hey, maybe they'll appreciate my silver and call me Erik now.”
Kynard placed behind Russian Ivan Ukhov, who took the gold on a 7.8-foot leap. The Toledo native, who wore high socks that looked like an American flag, told reporters that he’s just happy he placed; he would have been too embarrassed wearing the socks if he finished in eighth place.
“No way,” Kynard said. “I had to represent. I had to. You can't wear these socks and finish second. My mom's gonna kill me.”