Jenna Prandini’s dream of making a sprint final in the Olympics – at these, at least, in Rio de Janeiro – was shattered Tuesday night when she failed to advance out of the 200-meter semifinals.
The former Clovis High and University of Oregon star, never in contention, placed fourth in the second of three sections with a time of 22.55 at Olympic Stadium.
The top two finishers in each section, plus the next-best two times, qualified for Wednesday’s final at 6:30 p.m. (PDT).
Results of Tuesday’s third section were moot for Prandini because the third- and fourth-place finishers from the first section – former College of the Sequoias runner Deajah Stevens of the USA (22.38) and Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain (22.49) – were faster.
And the times of Stevens and Asher-Smith would hold up, advancing them to the final.
Section winners were pre-meet favorite Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands (21.96), Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast (22.28) and Tori Bowe of USA (22.13).
Also qualifying were Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson (22.13), Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye and Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova-Collio (22.42).
Prandini missed the final by six one-hundredths of a second. Her time was 10th among the 24 semifinalists. Asher-Smith was the eighth and final qualifier.
Prandini, 23, arrived at Rio with a season best of 22.39. But she said last week by cell phone from the Olympic Village that she was confident she would even beat her personal record of 22.20, set while winning the 2015 USA Outdoors Nationals title.
She may be not be finished at Rio.
It’s possible, though unlikely, she’ll be placed on Team USA’s 400-meter relay. That won’t be determined by the team’s coaches until Wednesday or Thursday, when the relay first rounds begin.
Prandini, who has been running professionally for Puma for a year, also hopes to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo. Her five-year contract has a base salary well into six figures annually, plus bonuses. So, as examples, she was paid extra for placing third in the USA Trials’ 200 and making the Olympics team. She wore Nike uniforms in Rio because that company is a Team USA sponsor.
The Prandini family of father Carlo, mother Theresa, brother Mark and sister Chrissy Prandini Wilken were present Tuesday night, as they were Monday morning, when Jenna Prandini won one of nine heats at 22.62.
Two of their tickets Tuesday were provided by USATF. The Prandinis paid $400 apiece for the other pair, the father said. They will leave Sunday before the Closing Ceremony.
Jenna Prandini has graduated from the University of Oregon with a business degree and lives in Eugene.