Former Stillman College track and field star Jeff Henderson became the first American to win the long jump gold medal in the Olympics since 2004.

The 27-year-old posted a season-best jump of 27 feet, 6 inches to claim first place by just half an inch over Luvo Manyonga of South Africa.

“I knew it was far,” Henderson said after the competition. “It was over. I knew I won this competition after that jump. I knew I won.”

Originally from Arkansas, Henderson's journey eventually took him to Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, where he won the 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field championship in the 100-meter dash and long jump. He was also named the SIAC Track & Field Athlete of the Year for his accomplishments.

The victory meant even more to Henderson because he dedicated it to his mother in Arkansas, who is battling Alzheimer's disease.

“She’s still fighting, she’s still living,” Henderson said. “She’s bedridden right now, so I did this for her. And know that I’m going to keep on fighting for her and (against) Alzheimer’s, because it happens to everyone.”

More From Tide 100.9