RIO de JANEIRO--Former Bronco national champion and All-American Kurt Felix used a strong javelin throw to move from 13th to 9th in the final decathlon standings at the Summer Olympics yesterday. Felix finished with 8,323 points, the highest he has ever scored in the event.
The performance represented the first Top 10 finish in any Olympic event for a Bronco alumnus. Former Bronco strongman Jarred Rome finished 13th in the discus at the 2004 Summer Games, while incoming Boise State freshman Courtney McGregor finished 13th in the vault at this year's Games. McGregor's performance, combined with Jordin Andrade's 16th-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles Tuesday and golfer Graham DeLaet's 22nd-place showing last week, gives Boise State athletes three Top 16 and four Top 25 finishes in Rio.
Felix, who finished eighth at the 2015 World Championships in the grueling test of 10 events, was ranked in the Top 10 for much of the competition in Rio, but slipped to 13th after the pole vault competition, the 8th event. But Felix rebounded with personal bests in his final two events, uncorking a javelin throw of 69.92 meters, the second-best throw of the field that earned Kurt 892 points to vault him into ninth place. Felix finished the competition with a time of 4:30.53 in the 1,500.
Felix began the two-day competition Wednesday by winning his heat in the 100 meters and scoring 876 points. He then recorded a long jump of 7.42 meters for 915 points and a shot put of 14.77 meters (the 10th-best in the field) for 776 points.
Next up was the high jump, and Felix sported a personal best of 2.17 meters. But when he tipped the bar with his heels on his third attempt at 2.10, Felix was noticeably disappointed and had to settle for 2.07 in the event for 868 points. Still, it was the 8th-best mark in the field and allowed Kurt to move into eighth place with 3,434 points.
Felix managed 49.14 in the 400 meters and 855 points to close out the opening day with 4,290 points and eighth place.
Kurt began yesterday's portion with 875 points in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.79. Now in ninth, Felix moved on to the discus and posted a best throw of 45.10 on his final attempt for 769 points.
The pole vault has always been one of Felix's most difficult events, but he managed an effort of 4.50 meters for 760 points. As a result, Kurt slipped to 13th with two events remaining, leading up to his great effort in the javelin.
Felix competed in both the 2012 Summer Games and the 2013 World Championships in the decathlon but was unable to finish either time due to injury. He finished sixth in the heptathlon at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon in March.
In 2012, Felix captured the NCAA National Championship in the decathlon with a school record 8,062 points, giving the Broncos one of seven individual national track and field titles since 1984.
Felix also won the long jump and the high jump at the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships and the long jump, the high jump and the javelin at the WAC Outdoor Championships. Felix went on to finish third in the long jump and 13th in the decathlon at the NCAA National Championships. Felix won the heptathlon and the triple jump at the WAC Indoor Championships in both 2011 and 2012 and captured the decathlon and the javelin title at the 2012 WAC Outdoor Championships. Kurt added an 11th-place finish in the heptathlon at the 2011 National Indoor Championships.