Sprinters hit Indy in high gear at AT&T USA Outdoor Championships


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Many of the world's fastest sprinters will look to burn up the track this week at the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis.

The Championships are the final stop of USATF's 2006 Visa Championships Series, and take place June 21-25 at the IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis. It is the selection meet for the IAAF World Cup of Athletics, which will take place later this summer. The 2006 USA Outdoor Junior Championships take place concurrently with the Outdoor Championships, as the selection meet for the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, China.

The 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships will be televised live on ESPN2 from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. All times are Eastern.

U.S sprinters continue to lead the world

No country can come close to matching American dominance in the sprints. At the 2004 Olympic Games, American men won eight of the nine medals available in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, sweeping the 200 and the 400 and going 1-3 in the 100. And at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships, American men and women won five of the six sprints from 100 through 400 meters.

The worldwide king of the sprints is, of course, 2004 100-meter Olympic gold and 200-meter bronze medalist Justin Gatlin. In 2005, he became the first man in 20 years to win the 100 and 200 at the USA Outdoor Championships, and he then went on to win both events at World Outdoors. In May 2006, Gatlin tied the 100m world record with his time of 9.77 seconds in Doha, Qatar.

Contenders looking to pull the upset in the AT&T men's 100m include 2006 World Indoor 60 champion Leonard Scott, 2005 USA Outdoor 100m runner-up and Olympic 4x100m relay gold medalist Shawn Crawford and 2004 NCAA 100m champion Tyson GayCrawford leads the list of the competitors in the AT&T men's 200 meters coming off his Olympic gold medal winning performance in Athens. He'll be challenged by 2005 World Outdoor 200m silver medalist Wallace Spearmon, who posted the fastest time in the world this year of 20.06 seconds with his win May 21 at the adidas Track Classic in Carson, Calif. Also keep an eye on reigning Olympic and World Outdoor 400m gold medalist Jeremy Wariner, who ran his fastest 200m time ever at Carson in finshing third in 20.19. Xavier Carter, who won four NCAA titles (100m, 400m, 4x100m, 4x400m) last month in Sacramento, is scheduled to compete only in the 200 in Indy.

In the AT&T men's 400, 2005 world outdoor silver medalist Andrew Rock and 2004 Olympic medalists Derrick Brew and Otis Harris, as well as youngsters 2004 world junior champion LaShawn Merritt and 2005 Visa Championships Series winner Kerron Clement lead the field. The 2005 Visa Championship Series champion Clement is a star 400-meter hurdler who might double in the 400 and the hurdles.

The Visa women's 100 meter dash is led by 2005 world champion Lauryn Williams. Challenging Williams for the crown will be 2006 World Indoor champion and defending U.S. champion Lisa Barber and 2003 World champion Torri Edwards. The return of 2000 Olympic 100m and 200m gold medalist Marion Jones adds intrigue to the race.

In the Visa women's 200 meters Felix is looking for the three-peat at the USA Championships. She will not go uncontested seeing as 2005 world outdoor silver medalist in the 400m Sanya Richards holds the fastest time in the U.S. at 22.25 seconds. Indiana University graduate, 2005 World outdoor silver medalist Rachelle Boone-Smith is looking to make her mark in the sprints; again Marion Jones is not to be overlooked. Also look for 2006 NCAA Outdoor champion Shalonda Solomon.

In the Visa women's 400m, 2005 world silver medalist Sanya Richards is the world's #1 ranked quarter miler and the defending Visa champion. 2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Moushaumi Robinson enters the race with the second-fastest time of 50.38 seconds.

For more information on the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships and USATF's Visa Championship Series, visit www.usatf.org.