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Americans get 4x4 redemption; Whiting takes shot silver at World Championships

8/16/2013
 
MOSCOW - A return to gold for the men’s 4x400m and a silver medal for Ryan Whiting in the men’s shot put in his first World Outdoor Championships Friday night at Luzhniki Stadium. The medals helped provide a bright spot to an evening in which one of the sport’s biggest stars fell to injury.

Team USA now has won 16 medals in these championships - 5 gold, 9 silver and 2 bronze - and leads the point standings 194-127 over Russia.

Gold and silver night

After a disappointing silver medal in the men’s 4x400m relay at the London Olympics, a young Team USA, with an average age of only 23-years-old, came together to bring Team USA back to its gold standard in the relay. David Verburg (Lynchberg, Va.) ran the lead leg and brought Team USA to the exchange zone even with the field. Newly crowned 400m silver medalist Tony McQuay (Gainesville, Fla.) split 44.68 to create a small lead for the U.S. with Belgium second and Great Britain third. It was 19-year-old Arman Hall (Pembrook Pines, Fla.) who opened a lead for Team USA on the final stretch to split 44.92. Fresh off of his World Championship title, LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.) split an easy 44.74 to anchor the Americans home in a world-leading time of 2:58.71. Jamaica edged out Russia for second, clocking 2:59.88 to Russia’s 2:59.90. This is the 8th gold Medal for Team USA at the World Championships. This also marks Hall’s fifth world championship medal in three years - 2011 World Youth 400m and sprint medley relay champion, 2012 World Junior 400m and 4x400m champion and now his first senior title.

The first thrower of the night and the top qualifier, Ryan Whiting (Port Matilda, Pa.) put up a first-round throw of 21.57m/70-9.25 to immediately take the lead. Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.) sat in third with a second-round throw of 21.12m/69-3.5. Hoffa didn’t improve on that mark and ended up fourth. Defending champion David Storl of Germany uncorked 21.73m/71-3.5 in the fourth round to knock Whiting to the silver-medal position, with Hoffa remaining third after four rounds of throwing. But Canadian Dylan Armstrong’s fifth-round mark of 21.34m/70-0.25 pushed Hoffa into fourth and off the medal podium. Cory Martin (Opelika, Ala.) sent the shot 20.09m/65-11 and did not get to advance to the final three throws.

Felix suffers hamstring tear

What was hoped to be a historical triumph turned to tragedy in the women’s 200-meter final. Going for a record fourth world title in the event, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, Calif.) visibly cried out half-way through the turn, then fell to the track, clutching her right leg. Although a stretcher was brought out to the track, Felix’s older brother and manager, Wes, carried his sister off the track. An ultrasound performed immediately at the track revealed a tear of her right medial hamstring.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica went on to win the 200 in 22.17, completing a 100-200 double, with Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast second in 22.32 and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria third in 22.32. Jeneba Tarmoh  (San Jose, Calif.) was fifth in 22.78 and Charonda Williams (Richmond, Calif.) sixth in 22.81; both women returned to check on Felix before leaving the track.

The final of the men’s 5,000m started at a jog, until Isiah Koech of Kenya sprinted to the lead and was soon followed by the rest of the field. A tactical race was on again, with surges and slow-downs and multiple leaders. With 600 meters remaining, the fight for the finish began in earnest, with Bernard Lagat (Tucson, Ariz.) Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.) and Ryan Hill (Hickory, N.C.) still in the main pack. Coming through the bell, Lagat got tangled up a bit, but came back to move up to fourth over the final turn, but didn’t have enough to hold his position for the finish. Lagat finished 6th in 13:29.87, with Rupp 8th in 13:29.87. Hill finished 10th in 13:31.27. Mo Farah of Great Britain duplicated his 10,000m-5,000m Olympic double in Moscow, winning the race in 13:26.90.

Jeneva McCall had the farthest toss ever by a U.S. woman at the World Championships, placing ninth. McCall (Carbondale, Ill.)  threw 72.33/273-3 on her first attempt and improved incrementally on her next two throws. Her toss of 72.65m/238-4 on her third attempt was her best effort of the evening. Amanda Bingson (San Marcos, Texas) had one legal throw of 72.56m/238-1 to place 10th on her second attempt. All four throws surpassed the previous best by a U.S. woman at Worlds, so McCall now holds that distinction.

As the oldest man to ever jump in the final of a World Championships, 35-year-old Dwight Phillips (Smyrna, Ga.) leapt 7.88m/25-10.25 on his third attempt, but did not advance to the final three attempts and finished 11th.

Qualifying Action
For the first time in World Championships history, Team USA will have three women in the 800-meter final. In the first semifinal, Alysia Montano led the pack through 400m in 56.33, and held on for the win in 1:58.92, with Brenda Martinez (Big Bear Lake, Calif.), kicking to place second in 1:59.03. 19-year-old Ajee Wilson (Neptune, N.J.) unleashed a furious kick over the final 150 meters to move from last to cross the line in 2:00.90 to take the third auto qualifying spot in the final. 

The men’s 1500m semifinal saw 2011 bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz (Portland, Ore.) advance to the final, finishing second in his heat with his well-timed kick over the final 250m to finish at 3:35.95 and claim an automatic qualification. In the first semifinal, Lopez Lomong (Beaverton, Ore.) was sixth in 3:43.79; Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) moved from last to eighth in the final 200m, finishing in 3:44.00 as neither man advanced.

Curtis Mitchell (Daytona Beach, Fla.) blasted a lifetime best of 19.97 to win the first semifinal of the men’s 200m.  Mitchell clocked the fastest time of the day, and will advance automatically to Saturday’s final. Isiah Young (Lafayette, Miss.) clocked 20.36 in lane eight to finish third in the second semi, and Wallace Spearmon (Dallas, Texas) finished sixth out of the third heat in 20.66 as neither advanced.

The World Championships boast nearly 50 hours of television coverage in the U.S. with broadcasts airing during all nine days of competition. View the complete broadcast schedule here.

For more information on Team USA at the IAAF World Championships, visit www.USATF.org. Live results and startlists are available at www.IAAF.org.

Athlete Quotes
David Verburg, men’s 4x400m relay
“My whole goal was to get out and get the stick to Tony [McQuay] in a good position. I just wanted to get around the track healthy. My goal was to get out and make sure to take care of my leg.”

Tony McQuay, men’s 4x400m relay
“My job was to get the stick, get to the break first and to get around the track as fast and as comfortable as possible.  To get the lead up for Geno [Arman Hall].”

Arman Hall, men’s 4x400m relay
“I knew these two were going to get me a big lead. All I had to do was keep it, extend it. I just have to do my job. He said he had my back, so I had his. He already ran 43 so he didn’t need to do too much.”

LaShawn Merritt, men’s 4x400m relay
“Two guys yesterday got us here and we needed to go close it out today. Every man did their job. I told them all you have to do is get the stick around and I’ll close it for you. It meant a lot for us to get this 4x4 gold back. We got the silver last year and we’ll take that. But we want the gold, that’s what we work for. We train to win. It helped that we had the two fastest men in the 400 already, but we’re running around with USA on our chest which gave us another chip on our shoulder. We went and got the job done.”

Ryan Whiting, men’s shot put final
“I qualified the way I wanted to. My first throw was exactly what I wanted. I just didn't improve. I have no excuses. I should've beat him foul or not, things happen. I should have beat him anyway.”

Reese Hoffa, men’s shot put final
“It was hard. It's my typical reforms cue. I go 21-ish. I wish I want to be better. But I don't know. It makes you definitely appreciate being here. That's the big thing. I'm happy at I went out here and kind of showed I still have it. I still threw, I’m having fun. It's a challenge. I haven't completely figured out at this age how to give it up yet. I just want to go out there and continue to throw well.“

Cory Martin, men’s shot put final
"It wasn't good. I never felt comfortable I was timid in the the ring, I was timid in my throwing, i didn't  attack. I think I probably sat too long, I didn't keep warm. I'll learn for next time."

Allyson Felix, women’s 200m final
“I’m extremely devastated. I was really hoping to go out there and put together a great race. Now I am consulting with doctors to figure out what is going on with my right hamstring. It is a serious injury, but I don’t know exactly to what extent. I wish all of my teammates the best for the rest of the meet.”

Charonda Williams, women’s 200m final
“It wasn't the final I expected. I I think while I was running, I actually saw Allyson [Felix] go down. I was like, ‘Oh shoot, keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.’ When I finished I thought I'm happy I made it to the final.”

Jeneba Tarmoh, women’s 200m final
“I just tried to get out really hard and get my arms going. “

Galen Rupp, men’s 5,000m final
“It went back and forth a little bit.  We talked about everything we could’ve done.  It's not going to finish the way it always does. It’s (pace changes) always a possibility. You never know for sure how it’s going to go.  We try to prepare for every possibility and do the best you can. I'm a little tired but I recovered pretty well. Just got to get back to training and go on to the next one.”

Bernard Lagat, men’s 5,000m final
“I put myself in the best position all the way. I was telling myself all the time it's a good pace, not too bad. There was a surge here and there  But that did not throw me off at all. I kept telling myself stay composed, you're going to do this. I believed in it one hundred percent. I've never gone into a race believing that I would really win. I believed it. So I went went in and I didn’t finish in the medals. I don’t see that as a disappointment, but it is something to look at as I gave my best.  Sometimes you win, you lose, so I’m saying that today."

Ryan Hill, men’s 5,000m final
"I'm not sure what place I came in yet. It kind of matters. I think I was either eleventh or tenth.  Tenth I will be pretty happy. Eleventh I won't be very happy. I didn't have the best strength-speed combo to keep up with the best guys in the world. I'm a little disappointed but I am happy with how long I was in contact with them. It was a great experience today.”

Amanda Bingson, women’s hammer throw final
“It was a rough day. I'm still young, I'm still learning. This was my second major championship overseas. My head’s held high. I'm happy with where I came in. Last year at the Olympics I finished 28th. To be in the top 12 I'm very proud of that. It just didn't happen for me today.”

Jeneva McCall, women’s hammer throw final
"I felt strong but slow. It felt like trying to turn in peanut butter out there. I just tried to stay mentally strong. I was Miss Consistency as always. Women's hammer throwing in America is coming up. We are going to change the game."

Dwight Phillips, men’s long jump
“Today I gave everything I had, and it just wasn't enough. Obviously I was looking for that storybook ending, but I'm so proud of myself. Last year I had an Achilles rupture and I was able to come out here and make it to the final. I knew it was going to be a longshot, but once you make it to the finals anything  can happen. The best person won today. I'm happy I was able to follow in the long legacy of all our great long jumpers in our history: Jesse Owens. Ralph Boston, Carl Lewis, Mike Powell, the guys that paved the way for us. I'm just grateful that now I am part of that legacy as well.”

Leo Manzano, men’s 1500m semifinal
“I just tried to put myself into position this time around. It was a slow tactical race, and I was trying to conserve some energy in the back, then when it was time to make a move and find an open spot, and I just couldn’t find it. Then I was in the back and I just couldn't regain. I guess I have to regroup and just finish out the season.”

Matthew Centrowitz, men’s 1500m semifinal
“Yeah, it’s three for three now, it’s definitely a feat within itself. But there is no time to enjoy it now, I have to gear up in two days to fight again. I definitely gave myself a lot to work for, but I stayed as relaxed as possible. Obviously I didn’t want to cut it close, but I knew that top seven would go instead of five, so that helped a little bit. I relaxed knowing I didn’t have to go from 10th to 5th, I could just pick off a few guys, but obviously I wasn’t trying to cut it that close.”

Lopez Lomong, men’s 1500m semifinal
“I thought I could kind of wait and have a big kick. I thought they would be out there and running very fast, but I was waiting a little bit. It was a great season for me. I narrowly got nipped out at the finish, but I’m very proud of how my season went.”

Wallace Spearmon, men’s 200m semifinal
“I'm proud of the young Americans in the final."

Isiah Young, men’s 200m semifinal
"It went better than the prelims. It felt more comfortable. I felt like I had my rhythm back, I was in lane 8' so I was kind of far from the action. I did the best I could."

Curtis Mitchell, men’s 200m semifinal
"I'm just real blessed right now. Everything is coming together, all the hard work.  I'm just happy. It was a good run. Tomorrow will be special."

Ajee Wilson, women’s 800m semifinal
“The last 150 I was feeling okay. I know I was in the back but I knew I have a pretty strong kick, and even though there was a lot of moving around and bustling. In the race. I knew I had something left. Usually I probably get bumped to the back, but this time I just held my ground and kept going.”

Brenda Martinez, women’s 800m semifinal
“It was tough. I had to listen to coachs plan. I need to get out harder, and go out .58. I have to run that, think that, sleep that. I think I went out a little bit harder today, and must try to close that gap in the end. I went lactic pretty bad but I'm strong enough to hold on and maintain. I was hurting pretty bad that last bit.”

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