By Paola Palacios
Former Riverside City College athlete Chris Benard got a chance to jump at the 2016 Rio summer Olympics.
Benard was a Tiger from 2009-2010, competing in both the long jump and the triple jump for men’s track and field.
Benard helped the Tigers win the state championships in 2009 and in 2010 by winning in both the long and triple jump.
Head coach Jim McCarron recalls seeing Benard’s Olympic potential from the beginning,
“Chris had shown Olympic potential from the beginning,” McCarron said.
Benard competed in the Triple Jump event on August 15 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He finished 16th overall with a result of 16.55m
During the Olympics trials in Eugene, Oregon on July 9. Benard jump scored 56-5 ¾ meters earning him third place, qualifying him for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“Its exciting, it’s my tenth year coaching at RCC,” McCarron said. “Since I’ve been at RCC this is the first Olympian that we’ve had.”
McCarron who still keeps in touch with his former athlete, recalls what Benard told him about his time and experience in Rio.
“Chris had a good time at the Olympics,” McCarron said. “It was a great experience for him, he’s ready for more, going to be back in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.”