By Nick Shook
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It’s been almost 15 years since Randall Cunningham last stepped on an NFL field, but the holiday weekend produced some proof of the strength of his family’s genetics.
Vashti Cunningham, Randall’s 18-year-old daughter, qualified for the Rio de Janiero Olympics on Sunday in Eugene, Ore., finishing second in the women’s high jump with a mark of 6 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Cunningham became the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to reach the Olympics since 1980.
Cunningham isn’t just the latest sports star to emerge from her bloodline — she’s also a true contender on the world stage. She is the reigning indoor world champion and tied the international mark for highest jump in 2016 at 6 feet, 6 1/4 inches. Her success and potential for more has veteran U.S. teammate Chaunte Lowe eyeing a potential podium sweep in Rio, per USA TODAY.
It’s another bit of eye-popping athletic achievement coming from the Cunningham family, which also features Randall Cunngham II, a soon-to-be-junior at Southern California, the reigning 2016 NCAA outdoor champion in the high jump and also an Olympic trials qualifier. And it’s overseen by a former high jumper-turned-scintillating professional quarterback, who’s now a coach, minister and father of two elite track and field athletes.