Clay leads decathlon; women’s 200m runners make next round

08-23-2004

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ATHENS - Bryan Clay began with the decathlon with a bang, and Team USA's women's 200-meter runners got off to a strong start in Monday morning action at Olympic Stadium.

In the only final of the morning, Olympic Trials champion Teresa Vaill (Gainesville, Fla.), at age 41 the oldest female U.S. track & field Olympian in history, placed 43rd in the women's 20 km race walk in 1:38:47. Vaill held in steady position throughout the race, hitting key km splits in anywhere from 39th-43rd place. The race was won by Greece's Athanasia Tsoumeleka in a personal-best time of 1:29:12.

Owning the best marks of the day in the 100 and long jump, Olympic Trials champion Bryan Clay (Azusa, Calif.) led the decathlon after two events with 2,039 points, 52 points ahead of Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan (1,987).

The 24-year-old Clay ran 10.44 in the 100m for 989 points, then long jumped a personal best 7.96m/26-1.5 for 1,050 points. 2003 world champion Tom Pappas (Knoxville, Tenn.) was in 10th place with 1,811 points (10.80, 906 points; 7.38m/24-2.5, 905 points), and American Paul Terek (Livonia, Mich.) was 24th overall with 1,677 points (10.92, 878 points; 6.94m/22-9.25, 799 points).

Olympic Trials champion Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.) ran the fastest time of the women's 200m qualifying round, winning heat 4 in 22.39. Joining her in the quarterfinals this evening are Muna Lee, who won heat 5 in 22.57, and NCAA champion LaShaunte'a Moore (Fayetteville, Ark.), who was third in heat 1 in 23.10.

In women's hammer qualifying, American record holder Erin Gilreath (Williston, Fla.) was 20th at 66.71m/218-10; Anna Mahon (Orange, Ct.) was 29th at 64.99m/213-2; and Jackie Jeschelnig (Ashland, Ohio) was 29th overall at 62.33m/204-6. None advanced to the 12-woman final.

For complete results, visit www.iaaf.org

TEAM USA TRACK & FIELD MONDAY AUG. 23, MORNING SESSION QUOTES

WOMEN'S HAMMER THROW QUALIFYING ROUND

Erin Gilreath (Gainesville, Fla.) 66.71m/218-10 in Group A 20th overall in qualifying: "Physically, I felt OK, but I needed to do the right things with my throw and I didn't do it. You have to get your feet wet. A learning experience is all it's going to be at this point. I've only been doing this for three years. I need a little bit of break. I'm disappointed, but I should have hit my first throw big. I wasn't waiting on the ball. I think I fixed it a little bit on my last throw. It was my mistake. I'm not going to take this too hard. I'm not going to define my career on one meet. It was a big meet and you want to perform well because it's the Olympic Games. It felt cool out there. I actually tried to stand in the sun for a while."

Anna Mahon (Orange, Conn.) 64.99m/ 213-2 in Group B 29th overall in qualifying: "At the 2000 Games this (64.99 mark in qualifying) would have put probably put me sixth overall. The hammer throw is a growing sport and they are all young.

"There was kind of a changing of the guards today. Suzy Keil (Germany), who was fifth last year at the World Championships, didn't make the final. Manuel Montebrun (France), who was third at Worlds last year, didn't make the finals. Yipsi (Cuba's

Moreno) is very, very athletic. She is the best hammer thrower, by far, of all time. It will be a dogfight in the final between everyone. Almost everyone threw over 68.50

"It was so hard to get back after the Trials. You have to peak for the Trials even though you are thinking about the Olympics. All things considered, I would much rather have the meet that I had at the Trails and been able to get here and see what would have happened then to have had the meet that I had here and not have made it at the Trials.

"I'm happy with my season and career. It takes perseverance to succeed at this level with the ability to stay focused. I had a conversation with some younger USA throwers. I said to them that if there goals are to make teams and earn some money them you are in the wrong sport. I think. If you love to throw then that will carry you through with whatever year dreams and goals are.

"As long as you love what you are doing and really have a passion for the throw then everything else will come. And it has for me and I am really happy with everything.

(On future): "I think that I'm ready to move on with my life. I think I am done with throwing for a while...never say never...but I am definitely going to take the next year off. I will still be around, but I am ready to have a family and move on."

Jackie Jescheing (Ashland, Ohio) 62.23m/204-2 in Group B, 35th overall in qualifying: "This was my first international competition and first experience on a stage like this. I should have thrown further but I did the best I could do on the day. I can't be disappointed with that. I felt that if I would have had my first throw where my third throw would have been I could have worked up to possibly finishing in the top twenty. I have years ahead of me. I'm very young (24). This is a great first experience and we'll see how it goes from here.

"Physically I felt pretty good. My body finally felt like it was rested and recovering. It was just a different experience. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I was just out there to enjoy the excitement and have fun.

WOMEN'S 20km WALK FINAL

Teresa Vaill (Gainesville, Fla.) 43rd (1:38.47):

"The wind got me. I'm too light. It had me tired out. I can't push the wind. I couldn't get my momentum. The wind would blow me one way and I had a heck of a time staying on line. This kind of competition is tough enough. I knew they were going to go out. It wasn't one of my days. I've been going everywhere, watching everything -softball, basketball. I've met a lot of people. I'm going to take it easy for a while. I'd like to go one more year."

WOMEN'S 200 ROUND 1

LaShaunt'a Moore (Fayetteville, Ark.), third in heat 1 (23.10) advancing to second round: "Once again I didn't get out. I just had to focus on my form. I stood upright and tried to catch the field. I'm so happy I'm done with the first round. I was so nervous all yesterday. And now hopefully I can focus on next round. I've been trying to go to sleep real early so I would be use to getting up. I laid down about 11 p.m but I didn't fall asleep until 2:30 this morning. That could have been some nervousness bothering me. I am just happy the first round is over. There are a lot of different things here that I have never experienced before but it is nice."

(On being late addition to team): "I am so happy to be here. I was training in Arkansas after the Olympic Trials real hard, hoping and praying that I would get to come here. I have always wanted to go to the Olympics since I was 12 years old and my goal was to come in 2004. To be able to be here is so beautiful."

Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.), first in heat 4 (22.39) advancing to second round with fastest overall qualifying time: "It's going to be a long three days and I want to conserve as much energy as possible. Justin (Gatlin) really set the tone. I want to win, too. Once I got out there, I felt great. Definitely, I'm satisfied with my race. I got into track late and I'm kind of learning about everyone."

Muna Lee (Baton Rouge, La.), first in heat 5 (22.57), advancing to second round: "It was OK for what it was. The way I was told to break my race down, I really didn't do it. It made it a little harder. I was cruising. I'm not nervous yet. I've been told anyone can win it. I don't know if we're trying to prove anything. I'm into having fun."