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Olympics

Trio of Salukis, former Marion High School star set to compete at Tokyo Games

CARBONDALE — Darryl Sullivan, a former Marion High School star who competed at the University of Tennessee, was scheduled to compete in the high jump preliminaries at the Tokyo Games late Thursday night. 

He won't be the only American athlete with local ties competing at the Olympics. Former Salukis DeAnna Price and Gwen Berry are in the women's hammer throw beginning Saturday night, locally, and another former Saluki, Raven Saunders, is in the women's shot put beginning at 5:25 a.m. Friday. Fans can catch the action on NBC, USA Network or Peacock, NBC's new online app/digital platform that is free to watch.

Sullivan was down to his last attempt at the U.S. Olympic Trials before clearing the 2.24-meter bar (7 feet, 4 1/4 inches). He finished second behind LSU's JuVaughn Harrison and is making his Olympic debut.

Price and Berry are in their second Olympics after making Team USA in 2016 for the Rio Games. Berry, who broke the American hammer throw record in 2016, a record Price now has, did not make the finals in Rio. Price finished eighth, and is one of the favorites for the gold medal after becoming only the second woman ever to throw over 80 meters.

Price set the American record in the hammer throw at the Olympic Trials, throwing 80.31 meters in Oregon. The former NCAA champion won the 2019 world championship in Doha, Qatar, and is attempting to become the first American woman to ever finish in the top five in the hammer at the Olympics. Her family won't be able to come, but she will have her husband with her in Tokyo, J.C. Lambert, who is also SIU's throws coach.

Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk is the defending gold medalist after winning in 2012 and 2016. She has six world records, four world championships and European golds and was the first woman to clear 80 meters. She underwent knee surgery in 2019 and did not compete in Doha, spending most of 2020 rehabbing. In late June, Wlodarczyk threw 77.93 meters to win the Szewinska Memorial in Poland.

Saunders won two NCAA championships at SIU and two more at Ole Miss, when she followed coach Connie Price-Smith there. Saunders left Ole Miss earlier this year and qualified for the Olympics for a second time. She finished fifth at the 2016 Rio Games and comes off a personal-best toss of 19.96 meters at the U.S. Trials. Jessica Ramsey beat her with a Trials-record 20.12 meters. 

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087 / On Twitter: @THefferman

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