She did it in front of her dad on Father’s Day!
Vashti Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, is headed to the Olympics for the second time, USA Today reports.
In 2016, the 18-year-old Cunningham finished second at the trials, placing 13th at the Olympics. Now five years later, she’s considered the best women’s high jumper in the nation, leaping a personal best of 6 feet, 7 ½ inches at the Chula Vista Field Fest.
At the Olympic trials, Cunningham focused on securing her spot, but secretly wished she could jump a new personal record. The 23-year-old ended up winning the women’s high jump at 6-5, the only high jumper to clear that number, securing a gold medal and a trip to the Tokyo Olympics.
“The final was very exciting for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it days leading up to it. I was so ready to be there. I didn’t quite jump the height that I wanted to, but I was just happy to go through [and] to win my first trials title…This meet right here meant a lot to me. I really, really wanted the title in 2016, but I was young and just trying to navigate my way. So, it really means a lot to me to come here today and get that tile,” Cunningham said.
She is coached by her father, former NFL superstar quarterback Randall Cunningham, who stood with her family to watch her victory. She won the title in front of her family and father on Father’s Day, which was the icing on the cake for her.
“The feeling is just amazing. I was looking at pictures of us over the years. I sent them to him, and I was like, ‘Happy Father’s Day.’ I know that making him happy makes me feel so good. I was blessed to have my family here and my dad. I’m happy it was on Father’s Day,” Cunningham said.
Her 6 feet, 7 ½ inches clearance is No.1 in the world this year. Cunningham is excited to head to Tokyo and work to win her first Olympic medal. While she knows she’ll do better than her first Olympic performance, she’s still putting everything in perspective.
“I do plan on peaking at the Olympics. I’m just waiting on God’s timing,” said Cunningham.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal