Clay, Madison win gold, Richards takes silver in Helsinki

08-10-2005

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Tom Surber
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HELSINKI, Finland - Bryan Clay won the men's decathlon gold medal, Tianna Madison captured the women's long jump gold, and Sanya Richards won the silver medal in the women's 400 meters on a brutally cold, blustery and rainy night at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki.

Clay wins 10-event gold medal

2005 USA Outdoor champion and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Bryan Clay delivered an amazing performance in atrocious conditions to win the men's decathlon gold medal with a world-leading total of 8,732 points.

Clay won by a 211-point margin over reigning Olympic champion Roman Sebrle (CZE). His performance is the largest point differential between first and second places at this event since former world record holder Dan O'Brien won gold for Team USA in 1995 with a victory margin of 206 points.

Clay held a 222-point lead going into the ninth event, the javelin throw, where he demolished all other competitors in that event with his best throw of 72.00 meters/236 feet, 3 inches to add 920 points to his total. He went from the best performance in the field to the worst with his final event 1,500m time of 5:03.77, but by then the issue had long been decided.

Madison shocks the track world

A junior to be at the University of Tennessee, Tianna Madison (Knoxville, Tenn.) burst on the national stage with 2005 NCAA indoor and outdoor championship victories before placing second at the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships in June. Although she set an impressive personal best of 6.83 meters/22 feet, five inches, in qualifying here in Helsinki, few expected her to challenge for the world title.

Madison was poised to win a bronze medal with her leap of 6.69 meters/21 feet, 11.50 inches in the second round. At the end of round four, she fell to fourth place when she unleashed a personal best leap of 6.89 meters/22-7.25 in the fifth round, which held up for the gold medal.

With her victory, Madison becomes the only American woman other than Jackie Joyner-Kersee ever to win an Olympic or World Outdoor Championships gold medal in the long jump.

2004 Olympian and two-time USA Outdoor champion Grace Upshaw (Redwood City, Calif.) finished seventh with a best jump of 6.51m/21-4.25.

Richards wins 400m silver medal

2005 USA Outdoor champion and 2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas) won the silver medal Wednesday night in the women's 400m final.

Richards grabbed the lead early in the race and held on to it until Tonique Williams-Darling of the Bahamas wrested it from her down the stretch to win the gold medal in a seasonal best time of 49.55 seconds, the second-best time in the world this year next to Richards' 49.28 set in winning the 2005 U.S. title.

Richards' medal winning performance is the first by an American since Jearl Miles-Clark won the bronze at the 1997 Athens world championships.

Americans ended up with three of the top seven places in the 400m final, as 2004 Olympic relay gold medalist DeeDee Trotter (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished fifth in 51.14, and fellow Olympic relay gold medalist and 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion Monique Henderson (Bonita, Calif.) placed seventh in 51.77.

This performance marks the first time that Team USA has had three athletes in the women's 400m final at a world outdoor championships since Tokyo in 1991 when Jearl Clark, Lillie Leatherwood and Diane Dixon finished fifth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Capel, Spearmon, Gatlin, Gay advance to 200m final

Earlier this evening reigning world outdoor champion John Capel (Gainesville, Fla.) won the first men's 200m semifinal in 20.45 seconds, with 2005 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion Wallace Spearmon (Fayetteville, Ark.) close behind in second place in 20.49.

Americans also took the top two spots in the second semifinal as 2005 USA Outdoor champion Tyson Gay (Lexington, Ky.) won it in 20.27 seconds, with 2005 World Outdoor Championships 100m gold medalist Justin Gatlin (Raleigh, N.C.) the runner-up in 20.47.

Team USA one-lappers move on

2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalists Jeremy Wariner (Grand Prairie, Texas), Darold Williamson (Fayetteville, Ark.) and Andrew Rock (Stratford, Wisc.) all advanced to the men's final with impressive semifinal performances held during a driving rainstorm.

In heat 1, Rock finished comfortably in second place in 45.78 seconds before Williamson took the track in the second semifinal and finished as the runner-up in 45.65 seconds. Wariner trailed coming down the final straight before grabbing the lead just in front of the finish line to win the third semifinal in 45.65 seconds.

Hayes, Perry advance to hurdles final

2004 Olympic gold medalist Joanna Hayes (Los Angeles) and 2005 USA Outdoor champion Michelle Perry (Los Angeles) each had impressive performances in rainy and windy conditions in Wednesday night's 100m hurdles semifinals

Hayes finished second in the second semi in 12.76, with Perry, who owns four of the top five times in the world this year, wining the third semifinal in 12.86. Hayes and Perry will compete in the 100m hurdles final Thursday night. 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion Ginnie Powell (Los Angeles) finished sixth in the first semifinal in 13.02 and will not advance to the final.

Elsewhere, 2005 USA Outdoor champion Alan Webb (Reston, Va.) burst into the lead at the 800m mark in the men's 1,500m final and held on to it for one lap before finishing ninth in 3 minutes, 41.04 seconds.

In women's 5,000m qualifying heats, 2005 USA Outdoor champion Shalane Flanagan (Marblehead, Mass.) placed seventh in the second heat in 15:20.59. Two-time Olympian Amy Rudolph (Providence, R.I.) finished ninth in the second heat in 15:32.73 and 2005 USA Outdoor Championships runner-up Lauren Fleshman (Stanford, Calif.) placed 10th in the first heat in 15:32.05.

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