Nelson wins gold medal at World Outdoor Championships

08-06-2005

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Tom Surber
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HELSINKI, Finland - Two-time Olympic silver medalist Adam Nelson (Athens, Ga.) needed only his first throw to win the men's shot put gold medal during Saturday's evening session of day 1 at the 2005 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Helsinki.

Nelson, who won the silver medal at the 2001 & 2003 World Outdoor Championships, unleashed a season's best throw of 21.73 meters/71 feet, 3.50 inches on his first attempt in the final. His clutch effort put the pressure on his fellow competitors, who could not respond with a better throw. Rutger Smith of The Netherlands won the silver medal (21.29m/69-10.25) with Ralf Bartels of Germany earned the bronze medal (20.99m/68-10.50). 2005 USA Outdoor champion Christian Cantwell finished fifth with a best of 20.87m/68-5.75.

The 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials champion, Nelson won the silver medal at the 2001 World Indoor Championships, and the gold medal at the 1994 World Junior Championships.

In men's 100m quarterfinal action, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin (Raleigh, N.C.) was the first American to hit the track in the men's 100m quarterfinals, and after a false start charged to Jamaican Dwight Thomas, Gatlin grabbed the lead with 30 meters to go and held on to win the race inn 10.27 seconds. Competitors ran into a 2.00 meters per second headwind.

Joining Gatlin in the semifinals on Sunday will be 2005 USA Outdoor Championships third-place finisher Leonard Scott (Irvine, Calif.), who won the second quarterfinal in 10.19 seconds. Scott took command of the race early on and looked strong in advancing to the next round.

2004 Olympic 200m gold medalist and 100m fourth-place finisher Shawn Crawford (Raleigh, N.C.) was the runner-up in the third quarterfinal behind Portugal's Francis Obikwelu, who won the race in 10.25 seconds. Crawford finished as the runner-up, shutting it down with 10 meters to go in finishing in 10.25 seconds to advance to Sunday's semifinals.

Also on the track, reigning U.S. men's 1,500m champion Alan Webb (Reston, Va.) finished sixth in the first qualifying heat Saturday in 3:36.84 to qualify for the semifinals on Monday. Webb held the lead midway through the race and held on to move on to the next round. Also moving on to the semifinals are 2004 USA Indoor 1,500m champion Rob Myers (Rushville, Ohio), who placed seventh in heat 3 in 3:40.16, and World Outdoor Championships first-timer and two-time U.S. Junior champion Chris Lukezic (Alexandria, Va.), who placed third in heat 2 in 3:41.80.

In men's discus throw qualifying, reigning U.S. champion and 2004 Olympian Ian Waltz (Chula Vista, Calif.) qualified for Sunday's final with a throw of 64.30 meters/210 feet, 11 inches. 2004 Olympic Trials champion Jarred Rome (Chula Vista, Calif.) also made it through to the final with a best throw of 62.72m/205-9. 2003 U.S. champion Carl Brown threw 61.91m/203-1, which did not qualify him to compete on Sunday.

2004 Olympian and 2005 U.S. Outdoor Championships runner-up Chaunte Howard (Atlanta, Ga.) qualified for the women's high jump final with her clearance of 1.93 meters/6 feet, 4 inches. Joining Howard in Monday's final will be five-time U.S. Outdoor champion and three-time Olympian Amy Acuff (Austin, Tex.), who had a best clearance of 1.91m/6-3.75. 2000 Olympic Trials runner-up Erin Aldrich (Dallas, Tex.) cleared 1.88m/6-2, not high enough to qualify her for the final.

In the women's 10,000 meter final, 2005 USA champion Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, Minn.) set a personal best with her 14th place in the final in 31 minutes, 21.20 seconds. A personal best also was posted by 2004 Olympian and 2002 national 10,000m champion Jen Rhines (Ardmore, Pa.), who finished in 31:26.66. 2005 USA 10,000m runner-up Blake Russell (Acton, Mass.) finished 22nd in 32:07.00.

At the end of day 1 in the women's heptathlon, reigning USA champion Hyleas Fountain (Athens, Ga.) is in11th place after four events with 3,584 points, with 2005 USA heptathlon runner-up Virginia "Gi-Gi" Miller (State College, Pa.) in 12th place with 3,571 points.

In the men's 20 km race walk, 2005 USA championships runner-up John Nunn (Chula Vista, Calif.) placed 30th in 1:27:10, with four-time U.S. men's 20 km race walk champion Tim Seaman (Chula Vista, Calif.) finishing 31st in 1 hour, 29 minutes, 58 seconds .

For more information on Team USA at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships, visit www.usatf.org