Olympics

US triple jumper Claye takes bigger leap after silver, proposes to girlfriend

Chicago Tribune

United States' silver medal winner Will Claye, left, and United States' gold medal winner Christian Taylor pose with U.S. flags after the men's triple jump final, during the athletics competitions in the Olympic stadium of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016.
United States' silver medal winner Will Claye, left, and United States' gold medal winner Christian Taylor pose with U.S. flags after the men's triple jump final, during the athletics competitions in the Olympic stadium of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. AP

U.S. triple jumper Will Claye said he knew Tuesday was going to be special right from the start.

It was.

First he won a silver medal, duplicating his feat from the 2012 London Games. Then he climbed into the stands at Olympic Stadium and proposed to his girlfriend, Queen Harrison.

She said yes.

Watch the NBC Olympics video here.

"I woke up this morning and I was like, today's going to be the best day of my life, and I wanted to take that next step with my girlfriend," said Claye, who jumped 58 feet, 3 inches for his second consecutive runner-up finish to U.S. teammate Christian Taylor, who jumped 58-7.

Claye, 25, put the engagement ring in his backpack and headed to the stadium. After his final jump, he said he immediately looked for a way to get to Harrison, 27, who ran the 400-meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and fell just short of qualifying for Rio in the 100 hurdles.

But there was one problem: Olympic Stadium has a huge gap between the track and stands, apparently a challenge even for a world-class jumper.

"I was like, how am I going to get over there?" Claye said.

He found a ledge and jumped, then fans pulled him up by his arms.

"I locked eyes with Queen," Claye said. "I pulled out the ring, said a few words, asked her if she would marry me.

"She said yes. Thankfully."

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