Gatlin blows away the field in winning 100m gold in Helsinki

08-07-2005

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Tom Surber
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HELSINKI, Finland - 2004 Olympic 100m gold medalist Justin Gatlin added a world outdoor championships gold medal to his impressive resume with an emphatic victory in the men's 100 meters Sunday night at Olympic Stadium in Helsinki.

Gatlin got off to a strong start and pulled away at the end in posting a seasonal best time of 9.88 seconds, a performance bettered in his career only by his 2004 Olympic gold medal winning time of 9.85.

Jamaica's Michael Frater was the runner-up to Gatlin, finishing well back in 10.05 seconds, with 2003 world 100m champion Kim Collins of Saint Kitts & Nevis, the bronze medalist in 10.05. Gatlin's U.S. teammate, Leonard Scott (Irvine, Calif.) was sixth in 10.13.

Gatlin's winning margin of 17/100ths of a second is the greatest in World Outdoor Championships history, bettering Carl Lewis' 15/100ths of a second winning margin in winning the 100m gold medal at the 1987 Championships in Rome in 9.93 seconds.

Gatlin's time is the sixth-fastest gold medal winning performance in World Outdoor Championships history, bettered only by Maurice Greene (1999-9.80, 2001-9.82, 1997-9.86), Great Britain's Linford Christie (1993-9.87) and Carl Lewis (1991-9.86, then world record).

In the men's 100m semifinals earlier Sunday evening, Leonard Scott overcame a mediocre start to grab the lead halfway through and win the first semi in 10.08 seconds. 2004 Olympic Games 200m gold medalist and 100m fourth-place finisher Shawn Crawford (Raleigh, N.C.) finished in eighth place in 10.28 and did not advance to the final.

Gatlin had the slowest reaction time in the field (0.154) in the second semifinal, but still won the race in 9.99 seconds.

Runner-up finishes good enough for U.S. women 100m sprinters

2004 Olympic 200m silver medalist Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.) ran in the first heat of the women's 100m quarterfinals Sunday night and advanced on to the semifinals with her runner-up finish in 11.22 seconds. Williams finished behind Jamaica's Veronica Campbell, who won in 11.17.

In the third heat, 2005 USA Outdoor 100m runner-up Muna Lee (Baton Rouge, La.) got out well from the start and held to finish second in 11.22 seconds to easily advance to Monday's semifinals. Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas won the race in 11.10.

2004 Olympian and 2005 USA Outdoor 100m runner-up Lisa Barber (Raleigh, N.C.) made it a clean sweep for Americans in the second-best position with her runner-up finish in heat 4 in 11.15 seconds. Sherone Simpson of Jamaica crossed the line first in 11.12.

Carter rides seasonal best time to 400m hurdles final

Two-time Olympic Games fourth-place finisher James Carter (Raleigh, N.C.) posted a seasonal best time in winning the first of three men's 400m hurdles semifinals at Olympic Stadium.

Carter charged with 150 meters to go and took the lead down the main straightway and earned the victory in 47.78 seconds.

2005 USA and NCAA Outdoor champion Kerron Clement (Gainesville, Fla.) also advanced to the final with his runner-up finish in 48.89 seconds.

2005 USA Championships runner-up Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.) asserted himself off the final turn to win heat 3 of the men's 400m hurdles semifinals in 48.19 seconds. The men's 400m hurdles final will take place Tuesday evening.

Clark wins 800m semifinal race

Two-time U.S. women's 800m outdoor champion Hazel Clark (Knoxville, Tenn.) pulled away in the first semifinal early and held off a charge to win the race in 1:59.00. Clark, a 2004 Olympian, competes in the women's 800m final on Tuesday.

In semifinal #2, two-time NCAA Outdoor champion Alice Schmidt (Chapel Hill, N.C.) placed sixth in 2:01.43, and in heat #3, 2005 USA Outdoor Championships runner-up Kameisha Bennett (Knoxville, Tenn.) got off to a good start but fell halfway through the first lap.

Bennett claimed that she was clipped from behind causing her to fall. Her left ankle was bleeding as she walked through the mixed zone. After the race Team USA filed a protest on her behalf claiming obstruction. The protest was denied.

Waltz, Rome finish well in men's discus

2005 USA Outdoor champion Ian Waltz (Chula Vista, Calif.) and 2004 Olympic Trials champion Jarred Rome (Chula Vista, Calif.) each looked impressive in the final of the men's discus Sunday night.

After placing 22nd in qualifying at the 2004 Olympic Games, Waltz finished in fifth-place with a best throw of 64.27 meters/210 feet, 10 inches. Rome, who narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic final last year in Athens, also looked impressive with his seventh place finish with a best throw of 64.22m/210-8.

Elsewhere, the women's heptathlon ended Sunday evening with 2005 USA Outdoor champion Hyleas Fountain (Athens, Ga.) placing 12th with 6,055 points. Fountain's best events during the competition were the 100m hurdles (13.60 seconds-1,036 points) and the long jump (6.50m/21-4 - 1,007 points). 2005 USA heptathlon runner-upVirginia "GiGi" Miller (State College, Pa.) finished 16th with 5,911 points. Her best event was the 100m hurdles (13.45 seconds - 1,058 points.

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