Gay stuns with fastest-ever 100 meters
Ore. – If the sprinting world had any question about how prepared Tyson
Gay is to repeat his gold-medal performances of the 2007 World
Championships at the Olympic Games, he answered that question with a
roar Sunday at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field.
a 4.1 meters-per-second wind behind him, the world 100 and 200m
champion ran the fastest 100 meters ever by a human being, 9.68, to win
the men’s 100m Olympic Trials title. Moments after Gay crossed the
line, the flags at Hayward Field fell still, leaving observers to
wonder what a slightly more tame, and legal, breeze would have resulted
No matter. Gay headlines an American 100 meter
squad that will be looking for multiple medals in Beijing. 2007 NCAA
champion Walter Dix was next across the line Sunday in 9.80, followed
by 2003 World Outdoor 200m silver medalist Darvis Patton. Completing
the field were collegiate record holder Travis Padgett (9.85), Rodney
Martin (9.97), Leroy Dixon (9.99), Michael Rodgers (10.01) and Xavier
Prior to Sunday, the fastest time
ever run had been 9.69 by Obadele Thompson in 1996, where a wind in
excess of 5mps couldn’t be accurately measured. Earlier Sunday, Gay had
been somewhat leisurely in the first stage of his semifinal race but
came on to win in 9.85 (+2.2mps), while Patton won the second semi in
The top three finishers in each
event at these Olympic Trials, who have met Olympic performance
standards, will earn the ultimate prize of a spot on the Team USA
roster for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Drama, heartbreak in women’s 400 hurdles
best women’s 400m hurdlers laid it on the line Sunday, with many
questions to be answered. Former #1 world-ranked Lashinda Demus was
trying to make her second Olympic team one year to the month after
giving birth to twin boys, 2007 Visa Champion Tiffany Ross-Williams was
looking to repeat as national champion, and Olympic Trials record
holder Sheena Tosta was looking to get back on top.
into the final stretch, Ross-Williams led fellow South Carolina grad
Demus over the final hurdle. Although the final meters off the last
hurdle are normally a strong point for Demus, she was passed in the
waning stages of the race by surprising Queen Harrison of Virginia
Tech, who ended second in 54.60, and Tosta, who was third in 54.62.
Demus ended fourth in 54.76.
Experience reigns in men’s 400H, women’s discus
American lineup for the men’s 400 hurdles is steeped in both talent and
experience. After placing fourth at the 2004 Olympic Trials, the
eminently competitive Bershawn “Batman” Jackson entered the homestretch
in the lead and never relinquished it. The 2005 world champion won
handily in 48.17, with 2007 world champion Kerron Clement holding on
for second (48.36) and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor taking
Likewise, there were no surprises
in the women’s discus. Three-time national champion Aretha Thurmond
returned to the top of the podium after having a child in spring of
last year, winning her fourth career national title and second Olympic
Trials crown with a toss of 65.20m/213-11. She will be joined on the
U.S. team by American record holder Suzy Powell-Roos (62.92m/206-5) and
2004 Olympian Stephanie Brown Trafton (62.65m/205-6).
Battle over the bar
of experience were heard loud and clear in the men’s pole vault, where
the most seasoned U.S. competitors seemed to best deal with the
swirling breezes. A competition that had been rife with passed heights
and tricky winds got slimmed down rapidly midway through the
2006 USA outdoor champion Russ
Buller withdrew from the competition with an injury after clearing
5.60m/18-4.5 for fourth place, leaving only Derek Miles, four-time
national champion Jeff Hartwig and world champion and American record
holder Brad Walker remaining. Their Olympic spots assured, it became a
matter of determining the winner.
several years of at times mysterious injury battles, Miles cleared
5.80m/19-0.25 on his second attempt to take the lead as Hartwig, with a
best clearance of 5.70m/18-8.25, failed to clear the height. Walker ran
through on his second attempt at 5.80m and passed on his third attempt,
then chose to call it a day. Walker had cleared 5.65m/18-6.5 on his
very first attempt of the competition, and it was enough to ensure he
Miles then raised the bar to
5.91m/19-4.75 in an effort to break Tim Mack’s Olympic Trials record of
5.90m, but took two tries before he, too, had had enough. It was the
first national outdoor title and second Olympic berth for the
35-year-old Miles, who also competed in Athens in 2004.
Hartwig will be 41 in September and is the oldest American man ever to make an Olympic pole vault team.
Long jump surprise
In another dramatic field-event competition, the biggest casualty of the day came in the men’s long jump.
USA indoor champion Trevell Quinley moved from third to first on his
last jump of 8.36m/27-5.5 (+1.6), a huge personal best by 14cm. With
the leap, he knocked Brian Johnson down to second (8.30m/27-2.75) and
Miguel Pate to third (8.22m/26-11.75). Competing on the same runway
where he suffered a near career-ending knee injury in 2003, Pate was
the comeback story in the jump final, leaping up and down the runway
after securing his spot for Beijing.
Phillips won’t have the opportunity to defend his 2004 Olympic gold
medal in the event. The two-time world champion fell from third to
fourth in the fifth round of jumping and was unable to move back to
third on his sixth and final jump. He was less than an inch out of
third, with a best of 8.20m/26-11).
Two-woman triple jump team
women’s triple jump featured great competition and a near-miss for one
competitor. Two-time defending U.S. outdoor champion Shani Marks was
the class of the field, winning with a Hayward Field record of
14.38m/47-2.25 (+1.4mps). Veteran Shakeema Welsch was second with
14.27m/46-10.0 (+3.5mps) and 2005 USA champion Erica McClain was third
with 13.96m/45-9.75 (+0.4mps). Marks and McClain entered the Olympic
Trials already with the Olympic “A” standard of 14.20m, necessary to
compete in Beijing. Although Welsch exceeded 14.20m in Eugene, her mark
was wind-aided so will not be accepted as an A standard. Marks and
McClain will represent Team USA in at the Olympics.
Three men control decathlon
one day of competition, the decathlon is shaping up as a three-man race
between former 2005 world champion Bryan Clay, NCAA champion Trey
Hardee, and 2003 world champion Tom Pappas.
and Pappas traded wins through the first four events. The 28-year-old
Clay had a strong 100m (10.39, 1001 points) and high jump (2.08m/6-9.75
for 878 points), the first and fourth events, respectively, but
struggled in the long jump and shot. The 31-year-old Pappas, by
contrast, was very strong in those events, winning the long jump with a
mark of 7.77m/25-6 (1002 points) and the shot put with a personal-best
17.26m/56-7.5 (929 points). The University of Oregon’s Ashton Eaton had
the fastest 400m time of 47.07.
At the end of the
day, Clay led the point tally with 4,476, with the 24-year-old Hardee
second (4,454) and Pappas third (4,405). Jangy Addy was a distant
Round and round
Sunday’s qualifying action, Mary Wineberg won heat 1 of the women’s
400m quarterfinals in 51.46, Natasha Hastings won heat 2 (51.51), Sanya
Richards won heat 3 (51.08), and Dee Dee Trotter took the fourth heat
(51.97). Winning their races on the men’s side of the card were LaShawn
Merritt (45.30), Jeremy Wariner (46.04), Lionel Larry (45.89) and
Quentin Iglehart-Summers (45.87).
coverage of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field,
including results, athletes quotes, TV schedule and start lists, visit www.usatf.org
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