Merritt wins 400m silver at World Championships
DEAGU, South Korea – LaShawn Merritt became just the fourth
athlete to earn three career medals in the menÛªs 400-meter dash after
earning a silver medal in the finals at the 13th IAAF World
Championships Tuesday night.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor and 2008 Olympic
bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson advanced into the finals of the menÛªs
Two-time World Outdoor silver medalist LaShinda Demus moved a
step closer in her quest for a gold medal in the womenÛªs 400m hurdles by
posting the fastest qualifying time in the semifinal round.
Meanwhile, Morgan Uceny and Jenny Simpson advanced to the
finals of the womenÛªs 1500m, marking just the fourth time Team USA has
advanced two runners into the finals (1987,1999, 2009).
Team USA now boasts nine medals: four gold, four silver and one
bronze to lead the medal table, with Kenya and Russia tied for second
with eight medals. The U.S. also holds an advantage in the point
standings with 103 total points; 20 points ahead of runner-up Russia.
MenÛªs 400m Final
In a thrilling finish to the day, 18-year-old Kirani
James of Grenada and the defending World Champion Merritt (Suffolk, Va.)
battled down the final straight away, with James pulling ahead just
before the line to take the title. James won in a personal best time of
44.60, with Merritt close behind in 44.63. Merritt now owns two world
silver medals and one gold, joining Americans Butch Reynolds
(bronze-1987; silver-1993, 1995) and Jeremy Wariner (gold-2005, 2007;
silver-2002) as the second highest multiple winners in the event.
Johnson tops the list earning four gold medals in the 400m at the 1993,
1995, 1997 and 1999 World Championships.
WomenÛªs Pole Vault Final
Olympic silver medalist Jenn Suhr (Churchville, N.Y.)
fell just shy of the podium, finishing fourth, ahead of defending
Olympic and World champion Elana Isinbaeva of Russia, who was sixth in
4.65m/15-3. Suhr did improve on a 10th-place finish at the 2007 World
Outdoor Championships in Osaka, Japan. Suhr cleared 4.70m/15-5 on her
second attempt, but was not able to clear the next advance of the bar.
MenÛªs 800m Final
Three-time U.S. Outdoor champion Nick Symmonds
(Eugene, Ore.) was in a good position with 250m to go before the traffic
of the pack proved difficult to navigate. Marcin Lewandowski of Poland
began to close on Symmonds, and the U.S. champion looked like he was set
to surge around the outside of the pack in his typical fashion.
Unfortunately, for Symmonds, the Polish athlete moved on the outside and
Symmonds found himself boxed in and unable to advance to the podium.
Symmonds finished fifth in 1:45.12.
In a surprising finish to the womenÛªs heptathlon,
Olympic silver medalist Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio) did not finish
the 800m. Fountain dropped out of the final event around the 200m mark
and did not score any points in the final discipline of the heptathlon.
Hyleas entered the 800m in fourth place, but fell to 25th place with
5611 points. Sharon Day (Costa Mesa, Calif.), a 2008 Olympian, had a
better day as she ran a season best time of 2:15 to end the competition
in 18th place with 6043 points.
WomenÛªs Steeplechase Final
Emma Coburn (Crested Butte, Colo.) entered the final
of the 3,000m steeplechase seeded 15th overall before finishing in 13th
place in 9:51.40 in her first ever international championship. With
Jenny SimpsonÛªs performance in 2009, this marks the second consecutive
World Championships where a current University of Colorado athlete
advanced to the steeplechase final.
MenÛªs Discus Final
Jason Young (Lubbock, Texas) threw farther than his
performance in MondayÛªs qualifying round; however, it was not enough to
advance to the final. YoungÛªs best throw of 63.20m/207-4 gave him a
tenth-place finish in his first World Championships.
WomenÛªs 1500m Semifinals
Uceny (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Simpson (Colorado
Springs, Colo.) advanced to the finals of the womenÛªs 1500m. Uceny ran
with Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco, Calif.) in the first heat, where
the tightly bunched pack forced both women to run the majority of the
race from the second lane. With 400m to go, Uceny began to move up
through the pack, but Rowbury was unable to follow suit. Uceny finished
fifth in 4:09.03 to automatically advance to the final, while Rowbury
faded to a 12th place finish in 4:11.49 and did not advance.
Simpson ran in the second heat and was able to run wide on the
final straight away to move into second place to automatic qualify to
the final in a time of 4:07.90.
MenÛªs 400m Hurdles Semifinals
Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.) and Taylor (Decatur, Ga.)
advanced to Thursday nightÛªs finals. Jackson easily won the third heat
in 48.80 to qualify automatically. Taylor faced a faster field in the
first heat and placed third, but was able to qualify based on his time
Jeshua Anderson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) finished one spot
behind Taylor, but was unable advance with his time of 49.33.
Defending world champion Kerron Clement (Los Angeles, Calif.)
was not in his usual form because of a groin injury, and his quest to
defend his title ended as he did not advance to finals. Clement finished
eighth place in his heat in 55.44.
WomenÛªs 400m Hurdles Semifinals
Demus (Palmdale, Calif.) was unchallenged in the 400m
hurdle semifinals as she finished nearly a second ahead of her nearest
competitor. Demus automatically qualified by winning the third heat in
Neither Jasmine Chaney (Mesa, Ariz.) nor Queen Harrison
(Blacksburg, Va.) were able to advance to the final. Chaney ran 55.89 to
finish seven in the first heat, and Harrison ran 55.44 to finish fourth
in the third heat.
LaShawn Merritt, men’s 400m
“I was ready. I felt good. I feel I could run another
tomorrow. I felt Kirani [James] with about 15 meters to go, but I had
some mechanical issues. I am feeling healthy and I am ready for the next
race [4×400 relay]. It is a sweet medal. I got on the medal stand, No. 2
at the World Championships with not a lot of races. I executed my plan
in the first race. I didn’t quite execute this race. I am a student of
the sport and I will continue to learn.Û
Jenn Shur, womenÛªs pole vault
ÛÏI had some timing at jumps, but at other jumps, I
didnÛªt have any timing, so it is unfortunate. But we have to be
realistic. We really didnÛªt think we were going to make it here with
some injuries that were happening that werenÛªt really allowing me to
train. ItÛªs definitely worth the experience of coming here and competing
for the USA; itÛªs just disappointing.Û
Nick Symmonds, men’s 800m
“Yuriy [Borzakovskiy] made a nice move at the
homestretch which is exactly what I wanted to do. He led me right to the
front of the pack. With 200 meters to go I’m in fantastic position if
I’m ever going to get a medal. No one would be crazy enough to pass me
on my right side but that’s what Lewandowski [Marcin] had to do to get
in the hunt and it cost me my lane. It cost me my whole race.
ÛÏI prayed that something would open up and nothing did. So I
had to stop and move out and you’ll never ever make the podium doing
that in the last 100 meters. The bump is not what bothered me; it’s
losing the lane that will kill you. There’s no way you’re ever going to
get there (from an outside lane). That kills your momentum. As I stopped
I had my legs, but there was nowhere to go. That’s the most frustrating
part – knowing you had it and you just didn’t create space for
yourself. You spend all year dreaming about a medal. You
don’t dream about fifth place.
ÛÏThe United States hasn’t had a medal in this race since 1997. A
nation with the talent we have in this event just makes me sick that
we’re not getting medals. I just have so much faith in the group we have
Sharon Day, womenÛªs heptathlon
ÛÏIt was definitely a solid meet, but not quite as good
as I would have liked. It was a little bit slower than I wanted to run,
but I think it was my fastest time this season, so I have to be happy
ÛÏThe multi-events are unique because everybody knows how hard
everyone else is working and what a toll it is to be doing the
multi-events. The camaraderie is amazing and everyone is supporting each
other the whole way through, so it is really cool.Û
Emma Coburn, womenÛªs steeplechase
ÛÏI felt a little tired tonight. I made it to the final
and that was my main goal. Anything tonight would have been a bonus. I
was seeded 15th coming in and finished 13th and I’m happy to beat my
seed. I’m happy to have the opportunity to run against the best women in
the world. It was an amazing experience.
I think there might have been a bit of mental exhaustion. I
wasn’t freaked out there tonight. I’ll take a few days off and start my
cross country training. My team (University of Colorado) has a meet this
weekend, but I won’t race until sometime in October.Û
Jason Young, menÛªs discus
ÛÏI thought it was going pretty well. I was a little
bit short of what I thought I could do. The experience is good, but I
would much rather come out of here with a better placing than I had.
ÛÏIt both motivates and discourages me. I would like to continue
to be a discus thrower as long as I could, but IÛªm in some deep crap
right now. One week before I got here I lost my job. So whatÛªs basically
going on is IÛªm at a cross roads of being able to continue competing or
not competing. I donÛªt know.Û
Jenny Simpson, womenÛªs 1500m
ÛÏAt the bell I was thinking, Û÷this is not a good
position. This is really bad.Ûª I tried to move to the outside and it
just wasnÛªt going my way. I kept thinking just Û÷stay calm, stay calmÛª.
ÛÏThe more situations IÛªm in and I survive, the better my racing
instincts become. I think every single time that I look back on and
think that wasnÛªt smart, my instincts teach me not to do that again.
Just gathering more races under my belt and more experience is only
going to make me better.Û
Shannon Rowbury, womenÛªs 1500m
ÛÏI felt like I was stuck back further than I would
have liked to be. But I was hoping that I would get an opening to move
through and go with the group. I just couldnÛªt quite navigate it. By the
time I was able to start moving, the lead pack already had such a big
gap on me that I just couldnÛªt catch them.
ÛÏI felt good the last 150m or so, but when you are already
10-15 meters back, you arenÛªt going to make up that much ground on a
great field of women.Û
Morgan Uceny, womenÛªs 1500m
“I got caught on the inside a little early, but I was
really happy with the way I got out of there. I didn’t have to cut
anyone to get out. That’s not always a great place for me but I still
like to keep cool and get out. My only fault was not executing the last
400m very well. I knew it was a slow pace and was going to get rolling. I
should have been up a little further because once they started
sprinting itÛªs hard to make up five meters. I lost focus for a little
bit which I have to make sure I don’t do in finals. I knew it was
going to get rolling in the last 400m. Running in lane two, I didn’t
think I was running as smooth as in other races. Coming down the home
stretch, I knew I had an extra gear if I needed to go to it but I didn’t
want to because I wanted to save it for final. I had to do a little
more work than I wanted to secure a spot.
Lashinda Demus, womenÛªs 400m hurdles
ÛÏI want to focus on what my coaches say so I don’t
make any mistakes like I’ve made in previous years. I feel good. I feel
ready and IÛªve trained so hard so it should come out some time and it
seems like itÛªs happening now. If you’re not ready now, you shouldn’t be
Queen Harrison, womenÛªs 400m hurdles
ÛÏI actually executed my race pretty well. I didnÛªt get
out as hard as I did in the first round. I was able to stay calm and
relaxed throughout the race which is something IÛªve been working on. I
canÛªt be mad at myself. This is a new atmosphere for me. So, I think I
did really, really well.
ÛÏOne thing I learned about this experience is treating every
race as a final and not underestimating anyone because the championships
bring out the best in everybody.Û
Jasmine Chaney, womenÛªs 400m hurdles
ÛÏI didn’t want to do anything stupid and everyone was
saying I went out too hard the first day. It let me just relax and run
my own race today, but I wish I would have got out hard like I did
ÛÏI put it all on the track and did the best that I could so
that’s all I can ask for. This experience is going to help me so much
for next year. Walking into this stadium and seeing all these people;
it’s another step forward to London. So now when I get on that stage it
won’t be so big.Û
Angelo Taylor, men’s 400m hurdles
ÛÏI got off pretty good. I think I pushed the button a
little early in front of the sixth hurdle and broke my momentum going
into the seventh hurdle. That’s when I began to struggle. I lost my
balance coming off the tenth hurdle and lost all of my momentum. It was a
struggle just to get it back. Luckily I was able to fight and went
strong to the finish and made it to the finals. Because I broke my
momentum It made the race harder than it was.
ÛÏI won the Olympic gold in 2000 out of lane one so it doesn’t
matter what lane I get in the finals. It is going to be a dogfight in
the final but that is what I’ve been training for.Û
Bershawn Jackson, menÛªs 400m hurdles
ÛÏThe race felt good. I wanted to go out and execute a
good race. I didn’t expect the headwind down the homestretch since weÛªre
in the stadium, but you never know what’s going to happen. I know how
to adjust for the finals. We train hard for this one moment.
ÛÏI could have made my 15 steps on that last hurdle, but then I
looked at the big screen to see if I was ahead and I kind of messed up a
little. But overall I felt goodÛ
Kerron Clement, menÛªs 400m hurdles
ÛÏFor the last couple months I’ve been battling a groin
injury. Of course, no one knows anything about it because I don’t want
to make any excuses about anything. I tried to push through the pain in
the first round. It didn’t really hurt as much in the first round. In
the second round, I tried to go a little faster.
ÛÏAnd after the third hurdle I felt my groin pull and it really
hurt me bad. I limped and I really couldn’t finish the race. I’ll come
back next year stronger than ever.Û
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