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Harper Wins 100H Gold, Richards 400m Bronze – US Medal Count

BEIJING – A thrilling win for Dawn Harper, a bronze for Sanya
Richards and a heartbreak for Lolo Jones made for a tumultuous Tuesday
night at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium.

The
2003 USA junior champion, Harper (Los Angeles) was considered by many
to have a possible shot at a medal in the 100m hurdles final, but no
one expected gold. It was teammate Lolo Jones who seemed destined for
the top of the podium, owning the fastest time in the world and winning
her races by large margins. Although a bit slow out of the blocks,
Jones (Baton Rouge, La.) rallied quickly and was clear of the field by
the eighth hurdle. The normally clean-hurdling Jones hit the ninth
hurdle, made it over the 10th hurdle and ended in seventh
place (12.72). Behind her, the field moved up, with Harper winning in a
personal-best time of 12.54 seconds, with Sally McLellan of Australia
second in 12.64 and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada third in 12.64.
Team USA’s Damu Cherry (Winter Garden, Fla.) was fourth in 12.65.

In
the 400, the heavily favored Richards ran her traditional, strong first
200 meters and hit the homestretch in the lead. But she very noticeably
slowed with about 75 meters remaining. Her right hamstring had grabbed,
causing her to lose form and forcing her to will herself to the finish
line as she watched her gold-medal hopes slip. World champion Christine
Ohuruogu of Great Britain moved up from the middle of the field to
first place, winning in 49.62. Shericka Williams of Jamaica was second
in 49.69, with Richards third in 49.93. Despite her disappointment,
Richards’ performance had historic significance: It was Team USA’s
fourth Olympic medal ever in the event and the first since Valerie
Brisco-Hooks and Chandra Cheeseborough went 1-2 in 1984.

More Americans sweep into finals

Full-roster
qualifying runs were de rigueur for Team USA Tuesday night. In the
men’s 200m semifinals, Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was third in
heat 1 in 20.19, Shawn Crawford (Los Angeles) was second in heat 2 in
20.12, and Wallace Spearmon (Fayetteville, Ark.) third in the same heat
in 20.14. The three will lock horns with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in
Wednesday’s final.

It was more of the same in the
men’s 400m semifinals. Defending gold medalist Jeremy Wariner (Waco,
Texas) looked very strong in winning the first of three semis in 44.15,
LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.) was equally strong in heat 3 (44.12),
and David Neville (Hampton, Va.) was second in heat 2 in 44.91 as the
trio moved to the final, slated for Thursday.

For
the firs time, all three Americans will compete in Friday night’s final
of the women’s 5,000m after strong showings Tuesday night. Competing in
her third Olympics in her third different distance event, Jen Rhines
(Mammoth Lakes) qualified automatically by running 15:15.12 to place
sixth in heat 1. American record holder Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro,
N.C.) was sixth in heat 2 in 14:59.69 to automatically advance, and
Olympic Trials champion Kara Goucher (Portland, Ore.) was seventh in
15:00.98, qualifying on time.

Quality quarterfinals

Runner-up
runs were the theme for American women’s 200m runners in the
quarterfinal round. Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, Calif.) was second in
heat 1 in 22.74; Marshevet Hooker (Pfugerville, Texas) was second in
heat 3 in 22.76, and Muna Lee (College Station, Texas) was second in
heat 4 in 22.83 as all three moved on to the semifinals.

In
the men’s 110m hurdles quarterfinal round, David Oliver (Kissimmee,
Fla.) posted the fastest time of the round by winning heat 4 in 13.16.
David Payne won heat 1 in 13.24 as both men head into the semifinals.

For
more information on Team USA at the Olympic Games, including athlete
quotes, event schedule, TV schedule and complete results, visit www.usatf.org

***

Team USA medal table, 2008 Olympic Games


Gold (3)

Stephanie Brown Trafton (Galt, Calif.), women’s discus, 64.74m/212-5

Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.), men’s 400m hurdles, 47.25

Dawn Harper (Los Angeles), women’s 100m hurdles, 12.54


Silver (3)

Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.), men’s shot put, 21.09m/69-2.5

Jenn Stuczynski (Churchville, N.Y.), women’s pole vault, 4.80m/15-9

Kerron Clement (Los Angeles), men’s 400m hurdles, 47.98


Bronze (5)

Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.), women’s 10,000m, 30:22.22AR

Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio), women’s heptathlon, 6619 points

Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), men’s 100m, 9.91

Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.), men’s 400m hurdles, 48.06

Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas), women’s 400m, 49.93

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