Hoffa, Nelson go 1-2 in SP, Goucher a stunning 3rd in 10 km


Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field

OSAKA, Japan - Reese Hoffa and Adam Nelson tallied Team USA's first medals of the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday night, winning gold and silver, respectively, in the men's shot put. On the track, Kara Goucher made history in the final race of the night by winning the first American medal ever in the women's 10,000 meters.

Hoffa opened shot put competition with a first-round heave of 21.81m/71-6.75 to immediately take the lead. Two spots down in the throwing order, Nelson - the reigning gold medalist - responded with a second-place, season-best toss of 21.47m/70-5.25, which he improved to 21.61m/70-10.75 in the second round. It was the effort that ultimately would win him the silver.

After a second-round throw of 21.64m/71-0, Hoffa uncorked a heave of 22.04m/72-3.75 in round 3, the mark that would stand as the winning throw. In fact, all but the last of Hoffa's legal throws - he threw 21.58/70-9.75 in the sixth round - exceeded the best that the rest of the field had to offer. Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus placed third with 21.27m/69-9.5.

It marked the first time since 2001 that Team USA went 1-2 in the event and got the Americans off to a strong start in the medal tables. The victory added a second World Championships gold to Hoffa's medal case, joining his 2006 World Indoor title. It was Nelson's third silver at World Outdoors, giving him four career medals outdoors, including his 2005 gold. He also was the 2001 World Indoor silver medalist.

Goucher makes history

While the 1-2 finish in the shot was not unexpected, Goucher's medal was a stunning achievement for the former NCAA champion from the University of Colorado who was making her first appearance at World Outdoors. Although Goucher (Portland, Ore.) had the ninth-fastest personal best in the field, her racing savvy and closing speed earned her America's first World Outdoor medal in the 10 km, besting a pair of fifth-place finishes by Hall of Famer Lynn Jennings. Goucher took the bronze in a season-best time of 32:02.05, behind defending 10,000m and 5,000m world champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia (31:55.41) and Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey (31:59.40).

The race was a tactician's dream as the entire pack stayed tightly bunched through 5 km, passed in a conservative pace of 16:29.24 as runners to their measure of each other as well as the heat.

Shortly after half way, the pack slowly began to string out, but quickly bunched up again 19 minutes into the race. The pack eventually began to thin slightly as Goucher stayed near the front, Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) was in the middle and 2005 USA Champion Katie McGregor (St. Louis Park, Minn.) was near the back of the pack.

Goucher moved into second place with seven laps to go but fell to as low as fourth with 800m remaining. The Alberto Salazar-coached Goucher remained in fourth with one lap to go but surged into second, ahead of Joanna Pavey of Great Britain and Kimberley Smith of New Zealand, whom she had been dueling all race long. Entering the final straight, Goucher was well clear of Pavey, who finished fourth in 32:03.81. Among Americans, Kastor was sixth in 32:24.44, and McGregor was 13th in 32:44.76. A jubilant Goucher then toured the stadium track on a victory lap, carrying the American flag.

400 hurdlers sweep through, Gay keeps moving

All four of Team USA's men's 400m hurdlers advanced to the semifinal round. Running easily, 2007 world leader and 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist James Carter (Raleigh, N.C.) won Heat 2 in 49.52, Derrick Williams (Fayetteville, Ark.) sprinted up to place second in Heat 1 (49.65), Kerron Clement (Gainesville, Fla.) was second in Heat 3 (49.07) and 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.) finished strong to place second in Heat 5 in a speedy 48.87.

Tyson Gay (Fayetteville, Ark.) strode into Sunday's semifinals by winning Heat 2 of the men's 100 in 10.06 seconds, while J-Mee Samuels (Fayetteville, Ark.) was fifth in Heat 3 (10.29) and did not advance. World record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica posted the fastest time of the round with 10.01 in Heat 1.

Davis, Wilson make TJ final

Reigning world champion Walter Davis (Baton Rouge, La.) moved to Monday's final of the men's triple jump by exactly hitting the automatic qualifying mark on his first attempt (17.10m/56-1.25). Aarik Wilson (Bloomington, Ind.) easily moved on with a best of 17.06m/55-11.75, while Lawrence Willis (Lafayette, La.) and Kenta Bell (Decatur, Ga.) jumped 16.55m/54-3.25 and 16.22m/52-2.75, respectively, and did not qualify.

Hazel Clark (Knoxville, Tenn.) advanced to the semifinals of the women's 800m as the final qualifier on time, placing fifth in the fifth heat in 2:00.61. Alysia Johnson (Canyon Country, Calif.) was fourth in Heat 2 (2:02.11) and Alice Schmidt was fifth in Heat 1 (2:02.49) as neither woman advanced.

After the final three of four first-day events in heptathlon competition, two-time U.S. champion Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio) had marks of 1.77m/5-9.75 in the high jump (941 points), 12.29m (680) in the shot put and a season-best time of 24.13 (968) in the 200 for 3616 points overall for 15th place. GiGi Johnson (State College, Pa.) stood 18th with 3562 points after posting marks of 1.59m/5-2.5 (724), 13.36m/43-10 (751), and 23.77 (1003). In 25th place with 3510 points, Diana Pickler's marks were 1.74m/5-8.5 (903), 11.22m/36-9.75 (610) and 24.61(923).

A.G. Kruger (Ashland, Ohio) threw 73.19m/240-1 in men's hammer throw qualifying and did not advance; Kibwe Johnson (Ashland, Ohio) did not have a legal mark.

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