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Team USA's men golden in long jump and 4x400m
DAEGU, South Korea - Dwight Phillips landed his fourth World Championship title in the long jump and the men’s 4x400m relay team won gold in a dramatic finish Friday night to conclude the seventh day of competition at the IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix went 2-3 in the women’s 200 as each woman earned her second medal of these Championships. It marked the third time in World Championship history that Team USA earned two medals in the event and the first time since 2005, when Felix captured the gold with Rachelle Boone-Smith earning a silver.
Friday night’s four medals pushed Team USA’s total medal count to 16 with two days of competition remaining. The women have accumulated eight medals, including four gold to equal their entire output from the 2009 World Championships.
Phillips, who recorded a season best mark of 8.45m/27-8.5 in the second round, tied Cuba’s legendary Ivan Pedroso (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001) for the most gold medals ever won in men’s long jump history at the World Championships. Phillips also won the long jump crown in 2003, 2005 and 2009. It also was his fifth overall medal in the event after earning a bronze medal in 2007.
Meanwhile, Team USA achieved a milestone in the women’s 800m by advancing two runners into the finals for the first time ever with Maggie Vessey and Alysia Montano qualifying out of the semifinal round
Men’s Long Jump
Dwight Phillips (Snellville, Ga.) walked away with his fourth gold medal in five World Championships, continuing what will be a Hall-of-Fame career. Phillips jumped a season-best 8.32m/27-3.75 in qualifying and then went 8.31m/27-3.75 and 8.45m/27-8.75 with his first two jumps in the final. After Australia’s Mitchell Watt, the 2011 world leader, could manage only an 8.06m/26-5.5 on his final jump, Phillips had the luxury of sprinting down the runway one last time with nothing but the gold medal on his mind. He ran through the pit and pulled off his very apt bib number – ‘1111’ – and held it up to the photographers as he scored his fourth career #1 finish at Worlds.
Will Claye (Phoenix, Ariz.), one of three 20-year-old jumpers competing in the final, finished ninth at 8.10m/26-7, which came on his third jump. He was coming back from the qualifying rounds in the triple jump Friday morning, where he reached the final that will be held Sunday.
Men’s 4x400m Relay
In a nail-biting final, the Team USA started with a strong leg from Greg Nixon (Long Beach, Calif.). Running the second leg, Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.) broke to the inside and into the lead, but was quickly passed by South Africa’s Ofentse Mogawane and Jamaica’s Jermaine Gonzales. The U.S. sat in third as Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.). ran on the heels of South Africa’s William DeBeer on the third leg. Entering the home straight, Team USA appeared momentarily trapped on the inside curve before anchor LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.) was forced to swing wide, past the Jamaican and South African runners, to mount his attack. Merritt, the silver medalist in the 400m, accelerated and cruised past South Africa’s L.J. Van Zyl in the final 30 meters. Team USA won the gold in 2:59.31, followed by South Africa in 2:59.86 and Jamaica in 3:00.10.
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.) came off the turn battling with two-time Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica. But as Campbell-Brown pulled ahead to cross the line in a season best of 22.22, Jeter was unable to match her charge and finished second in 22.37. It marked Jeter’s second medal after claiming gold in the 100m on Tuesday. Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.) picked up her second medal as well, after silver in the 400. Friday night, Felix came off the turn in third place and maintained the position to the finish in 22.42 to win 200m bronze. The American women finished three in a row as Shalonda Solomon (Orlando, Fla.) took fourth in 22.61.
Men’s Shot Put
While Team USA had four men in the top eight of the final, none we able to make it to the podium, thus ending a streak of three straight World Championships in which and American had won gold. Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.) started the series in first place with his throw of 20.90m/68-7. Even though he improved to 20.99m/68-10.5 on his second throw, he was unable to land a better mark on the remaining four throws and fell to fifth place. Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.) was in fifth place through the first five throws, but moved up to fourth when he landed his final throw at 21.36m/70-1.
As the junior member of the U.S. squad, Ryan Whiting (Tempe, Ariz.) finished seventh in his first World Championships. Whiting’s best throw came on his fourth attempt at 20.75m/68-1. Adam Nelson (Watkinsville, Ga.) had a best mark of 20.29m/66-7 to finish eighth.
Women’s 5,000m Final
Lauren Fleshman (Eugene, Ore.) got in the mix with the lead pack and stayed mid-pack through ten laps before the leaders made a significant change of gears and the race started in earnest. Fleshman continued to fight and was able to pass Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia right at the finish to take seventh in 15:09. That matched the highest finish ever in the event by an American, with Libbie Hickman and Jen Rhines placing seventh at the 1997 and 2009 World Championships, respectively. Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) finished 15th in 15:56.06.
Women’s 800m Semifinal
Maggie Vessey (Seacliff, Calif.) advanced to the final by running a smart race in the first semifinal heat. At the bell lap she was at the back of the pack and gradually improved her position over the next 200m to third. Sprinting down the straightaway with Jenny Meadows of Great Britain, Vessey surged ahead to nab the last automatic qualifying spot in 1:58.98.
In the second semifinal heat, Alysia Montano (Canyon Country, Calif.) battled down the straight away and took the bell lap in second. While Montano ended up finishing third, she was able to qualify for the final from her time of 1:58.67 in the second semifinal heat. Alice Schmidt (San Diego, Calif.) faded to fifth place in 2:01.16 in the third semifinal heat and did not advance.
Men’s 200m semifinal
Walter Dix (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), silver medalist in the men’s 100m, won the third semifinal heat in 20.37. Darvis Patton (Grand Prairie, Texas), who earned a silver medal in the 200m at the 2003 World Championships, was fifth in the second semifinal heat and failed to advance to the final after being clocked in 20.72.
Dwight Phillips, Men’s Long Jump
“This medal is the most important of my four gold medals, because I had lots of adversity this year. I had injuries all year. Going into this competition, no one believed I could win, other than my family, my coach and myself. I'm just so happy to follow in the footsteps of the great long jumpers like Carl Lewis, Ralph Boston and Bob Beamon.
“I want to serve as an inspiration to kids and show it's not how you respond in victory, but how you respond in defeat. I've been defeated all year.
“I sustained an Achilles injury (left) that prevented me from training the entire month of June. I knew that if I could have at least four weeks of injury free training, I could win a world championship.”
Greg Nixon, 1st Leg 4x400m Relay
“This feels great. This is my first gold medal outdoors. I found out after the prelims that I would run the 4x400m.We have the best hurdlers and sprinters in the world, so I wasn’t too worried. I knew we could pull it off, but we were in a position we hadn’t been in before in having to come from behind.”
Angelo Taylor, 2nd Leg 4x400m Relay
“My foot is holding on. I just wanted to go out there and get the baton around. When I got the baton, I was in third place. It was a tactical race. Jamaica got out front and South Africa was up there. I couldn't run my race. I didn't want to go out and swing wide and run out of gas. I just had to run off the South African. He tried to change the tempo, and as we went down the stretch, I told myself that I had to keep it close for LaShawn.
“I've been running on national teams in the 4x400m since 1999, and I've never gotten the baton behind. It was different. It was a strategic race on the part of the other teams. They put their best runners on the first leg. Some of them had their best runners on the second leg.”
Bershawn Jackson, 3rd Leg 4x400m Relay
“Yesterday, I had a horrible race in the 400m hurdles. So to come out today and get the gold medal I was rejuvenated. I was real down. I was depressed but today I feel better thanks to these three guys in taking home a gold medal.
“Coaches told me before the 400m hurdles that I was going to run in the relay. Coaches told me to stay healthy, finish your finals and get ready for the 4x400m. When I was depressed the only thing the coach said was pick your head up and get ready to run the 4 x400m and bring it home for USA.”
LaShawn Merritt, fourth Leg 4x400m Relay
“I can't start without thanking Michael Berry and Jamaal Torrence for getting us to the final. They ran two great legs in the first round to get us here. We told them before we got here that it was our time now. We told them we're going to get a gold medal for them.
“The race was a lot closer than we thought. We knew that everyone was going to come out and run hard. At the end of the day, everyone was told to do their job and each man left it all on the track.
“I didn't want to go out too fast too early. I got boxed in and I was going to make a move early, but I played it smart. I knew that neither one of the guys I was running against was going to out kick me. I believed in my training and my foot speed.”
Carmelita Jeter, Women’s 200m Final
“I’m not upset. I’m very pleased with where I am at right now. This is my first time doubling at (the World Championships) so now I know what to expect from it. Nobody even thought that I would medal in the 200m so I’m very happy. Veronica [Campbell-Brown] ran a great race. I tried to run with her and she took one more step ahead of me. When you go out and run your best all you can do is congratulate the woman who beat you.
“For London 2012 I plan on doubling in the 100m and 200m. I’ve been on a high since I won the 100m and I’m trying to stay there. We still have the 4x100m. I hope we get that stick around.”
Allyson Felix, Women’s 200m Final
“I’m disappointed and tired; it was quite the combination. Still no regrets. Definitely, I wouldn’t have changed anything as far as going for the double, but definitely a little disappointed tonight. I think I ran with a lot of heart, because that is about what was left for me.
“I just tried to put the race together, and looking back my turnover just wasn’t really there. I tried to gut it out, but it didn’t come together.
“All I can think about is next year; I’m just motivated for next year. I think that 200 meters is going to be the most important thing to me. This was all about a learning experience and I definitely learned a lot.”
Shalonda Solomon, Women’s 200m Final
“I’m feeling fine. It just wasn’t the performance I was looking for, but I’m glad I finished the race. I’m learning, just a learning curve I have to fight through.”
Reese Hoffa, Men’s Shot Put Final
“For some reason I just couldn’t quite get the ball to start going again. I didn’t feel like my technique was too far off, but obviously it must have been. I guess I could take from this that I can come out here and throw 20.90m consistently in major championships and make finals, but I guess I’ve got to find that next gear to throw 22m, because I am more than capable of going 21.80s and I’ve done it a couple of times this year. I’ll just finish out the rest of the year. There is still diamond leagues and that is what I’ll be looking forward to hopefully finish on a high note and throw over 21m.
“I’m hoping that it will re-motivate us and be back on top next year, that’s all we can do.”
Christian Cantwell, Men’s Shot Put Final
“I’m searching for words. I can't put into words how I’m feeling right now. I just want to hide and put my head under a rock.
“I'll be fine. I’ve been here before and I'll be back. I couldn't get any momentum. My best was 21.36m/70-1 and I thought I killed it on that throw. I tried I to do my best. I'm proud of the guys; they put on a good show.
“I feel I've had a decent season, all things considered. I’m always motivated.”
Adam Nelson, Men’s Shot Put Final
“I’m very disappointed in my results tonight and yesterday. It’s more motivation for me for next year. It was just one of those nights where I couldn't get anything going. I tightened up between the warm-ups and finals. There's no excuse for this. I’m too old and experienced for that to happen. But the good news is that I made a statement that I’m coming back and I’ll be ready for next year. I’m in great shape.”
“All four of us are pretty frustrated with the results. We expect a lot more out of ourselves. We have a reputation and legacy to uphold in the U.S. as shot putters. And we all screwed up tonight. None of us executed properly. I think you will see us come back next year a lot stronger because of what happened.”
Ryan Whiting, Men’s Shot Put Final Final
“For Americans to have four guys in the top eight and no medals is not something I ever imagined would happen, especially with how strong our team was.
“I don’t know what to say, this is my first time here. I’m pretty happy with what happened. It was a good experience, get ready for London next year.”
Maggie Vessey, Women’s 800m Semifinal
“I was very nervous but just trying to get those nerves under control - keep myself calm and collective and conduct myself as if I were a medalist and just have the confidence. I was never in a panic mood even though I was in eighth. I didn't feel like they were getting away from me and I made some gutsy moves going wide on turns and wide on people with 300 meters. It was about staying calming, not being super aggressive. There was cost efficient energy all the way to the tape. I was just trying to be barrel chested to the finish line.
“I wanted it so bad. Making it to the semifinals in the worlds in 2009 was good, but it was disappointing and I just didn't want to be there again. I raced a little more intelligently and you can't put a price on these things.”
Alysia Montano, Women’s 800m Semifinal
“I knew I had to win my heat pretty much just to be safe. In the 800m you can not hesitate for a split second. But in the last 200 meters I hesitated for a second thinking I have to be prepared for the runners going full force. I know how to run the 800m; it’s not new to me. I was just being an idiot and it almost cost me but luckily I have another chance.
“I promised myself next time I get to the championships, I will make it to the final. I got another opportunity indoors in 2010 and I got a medal. So I’m hoping I can equal that.”
Alice Schmidt, Women’s 800m Semifinal
“I didn't have that gear today which was super disappointing. I raced a lot this summer where I kind of had back-to-back races where the first one would be okay and the second one I'd have a PR or something. So I thought I was ready to race back- to-back. It will be interesting to sit with my coach to see what we can do differently.
“It’s disappointing. This is a world championship. This is the first year where I thought I was coming into this meet level headed knowing what I needed to do for the rounds. I’m really disappointed that I’m not in final.”
“The race went out pretty quick for the first 200m and then we settled right. We were slower than the other two heats so on that turn I started to go wide and then I need to get closer to the rail so
going into final back straight I was right up the with leaders. I thought I was in great position. We're going to go, were going to kick; let’s do this. But with 150m to go the top four women surged and I couldn't match that. I thought some of the girls would come back to me.”
Lauren Fleshman, Women’s 5,000m Final
“I didn’t expect to be that close to the front. I just wanted to stay out of trouble. Just got off the line, got on the rail and it was perfect. The women in front just kept the pace about where I could hang on and then all the Africans came through just like I expected them to, but it was a bigger pack this time. I just tried to hang on with them. I kind of pretended I was on their team and was looking for the visual clues they were giving each other and was just going to be the one that was the rookie of the group and see if I could follow along the back and then pick a few of them off if possible.
“It was great, I’m happy. I was focused the whole way. I stuck to my race plan. I didn’t get overwhelmed by the environment, those are all things I wanted to accomplish here to set me up for next year.”
Amy Hastings, Women’s 5,000m Final
“It didn’t go the way I was hoping by any means. I got out there and the pace felt really hard. I think I recovered and did everything from the first race. But it just wasn’t my day, so I’m going to go back and review things and figure out what I did wrong and I’ll be stronger for next year.”
“It just felt a lot harder than I thought it was. I don’t know what it was, but it just wasn’t my day. It happens, but I’ll figure it out for sure and come back stronger.”
Darvis Patton, Men’s 200m Semifinal
“I didn’t perform well at all. I can’t come here and not make the final, not as an American athlete. My job is to come here and make the final, and I didn’t do that. It’s very disappointing. I’m upset with myself. I just didn’t perform when I was supposed to.
“Sometimes you have to build a bridge and get over it. I won’t do it immediately, I’ll probably go in the back and cry a little bit, but sometimes you feel like you let a lot of people down. I‘ve got a lot of support back home and I just didn’t perform well today, and that is heartbreaking right there. I’m in great shape, I know I train hard, this is what you train for. Not to perform on this day sucks a lot, a whole lot.”
Walter Dix, Men’s 200m Semifinal
“It felt good. Going into the finals looking for the upset. Trying to be the world champion, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Team USA Medals - 16 (Through Sept. 2)
M4x400 relay (Greg Nixon, Bershawn Jackson, Angelo Taylor, Lashawn Merritt), 2:59.31, 9/2
Dwight Phillips (Snellville, Ga.), MLJ, 8.45m/27-8.75, 9/2
Lashinda Demus (Palmdale, Calif.), W400H, 52.47AR, 9/1
Jenny Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), W1500, 4:05.40, 9/1
Jesse Williams (Eugene, Ore.), MHJ, 2.35m/7-8.5, 9/1
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.), W100, 10.90, 8/29
Jason Richardson (Inglewood, Calif.), M110H, 13.16, 8/29
Trey Hardee (Austin, Texas), Decathlon, 8607, 8/28
Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Miss.), WLJ, 6.82m/22-4.5, 8/28
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.), W200, 22.37, 9/2
Lashawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.), M400, 44.63, 8/30
Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.), W400, 49.59PR, 8/29
Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Ore.), Decathlon, 8505, 8/28
Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), M100, 10.08, 8/28
Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.), W200, 22.42, 9/2
Jillian Camarena-Williams (Tucson, Ariz.), WSP, 20.02m/65-8.25, 8/29
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