U.S. high jumper Vashti Cunningham is turning professional and signing with Nike, one day after becoming the youngest woman to win a World Indoor track and field title, according to reports from her native Las Vegas.
Cunningham, the 18-year-old daughter of retired NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham, said after she won the World Indoor Championship on Sunday that she planned to turn pro rather than continue jumping for Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.
Cunningham cleared 1.96 meters to win the World Indoor title, one week after she won the U.S. Indoor title with a 1.99-meter clearance, a World junior record.
However, neither of those meets included the world’s three best high jumpers from last year — Russians Anna Chicherova and Maria Kuchina and Croatian Blanka Vlasic.
Russians are indefinitely barred from competing internationally until the nation cleans up its anti-doping system and could miss the Rio Olympics.
Cunningham’s 1.99-meter clearance at Nationals matched the mark of the fourth-through-sixth-place finishers at the 2015 World Championships.
Cunningham is younger than any U.S. Olympic track and field competitor since 1976, according to USA Track and Field.
She can make the U.S. Olympic team at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., on July 3.