Olympic medalists wrap up European campaign at World Athletics Final


Vicky Oddi
Communications Coordinator
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Team USA Beijing Olympic medalists LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner, Angelo Taylor, David Oliver, Kerron Clement, Sanya Richards, Dawn Harper, Sheena Johnson and Stephanie Brown Trafton lead a strong contingent of Americans competing at the 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final September 13-14 in Stuttgart, Germany.

The men's 400 meters will pit reigning Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt against 2004 gold medalist and 2008 silver medalist Jeremy Wariner. Heading into Stuttgart, the pair have split their past six meetings this year with Merritt winning in Berlin, the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games, while Wariner won at the Paris, Rome and Zurich Golden League meetings. Between them they also own the top 16 times in the world this year. Not to be overlooked is two-time Olympic 400m hurdle gold medalist and 2007 World Outdoor 400m bronze medalist Angelo Taylor, who is currently the third-fastest performer of 2008 behind Merritt and Wariner.

Sheena Johnson, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, will go head-to-head with 2008 Olympic champion Melaine Walker (JAM) and bronze medalist Tasha Danvers (GBR). Also entered are 2008 Olympic Trials champion Tiffany Ross-Williams and Olympic Trials finalist Christine Spence.

Having twice run under thirteen seconds this year, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver is the overwhelming favorite in the men's 110m hurdles. Americans dominate the field, occupying five of the eight lanes with other entrants including 2006 NCAA champion Aries Merritt, 2005 USA Indoor champion Joel Brown, 2007 NCAA champion Tyrone Akins and 2003 NCAA champion Ryan Wilson.

Six of the eight finalist from Beijing will compete in the women's 100m hurdles, including gold medalist Dawn Harper, silver medalist Sally McClellan (AUS) and bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (CAN). Reigning World Indoor champion Lolo Jones, who clipped the ninth hurdle in Beijing and finished seventh, also will look to take home the win. And don't forget 2004 Olympic gold medalist Joanna Hayes, who had wins this year at the Prefontaine Classic and the adidas Track Classic.

American women will occupy four of the eight lanes in the women's 100m and 200m, with several of the women doubling. 2004 Olympic 100m silver medalist Lauryn Williams, 2008 Olympic 200m finalist Marshevet Hooker and 2007 World Outdoor 100m bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter are entered in both the 100 and 200m. 2003 World Outdoor champion Torri Edwards and Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser, who are tied for the world lead at 10.78, and Olympic bronze medalist Kerron Stewart will run the 100. Olympic bronze medalist Sanya Richards will face Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu (GBR) and silver medalist Shericka Williams (JAM) in the women's 400m and Richards also will race the 200m.

The women's discus throw will be led by Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton and silver medalist Yarelis Barrios (CUB). Also competing are Olympic finalist and four-time U.S. champion Aretha Thurmond and two-time World team member Becky Breisch.

Olympic silver medalist and reigning World Outdoor champion Kerron Clement headlines a field in the men's 400m hurdles that includes five of the eight finalists from Beijing. Also slated to compete are 2007 Pan Am Games bronze medalist LaRon Bennett and Olympic Trials finalist Reuben McCoy.

Americans occupy half the field in the men's shot put and will be led by Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell and reigning World Outdoor champion Reese Hoffa. Also in the mix are Dan Taylor, world-ranked #6 last season, and 2006 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion Garrett Johnson.

Also on the track will be 2007 double World champion Bernard Lagat, 2008 Olympian Matt Tegenkamp and two-time NCAA 5,000m champion Chris Solinsky in the men's 3,000m. 2008 USA Indoor champion Mike Rodgers will take on former world record holder Asafa Powell (JAM) in the men's 100m, and 2008 Olympian Rodney Martin and hurdler Joel Brown will compete in the 200m. Olympic Games finalist Shannon Rowbury and Olympic Trials runner-up Erin Donohue are entered in the women's 1,500m. Sara Slattery will line up in the women's 3,000m.

Field eventers to watch include 2008 Olympic Trials champion Jesse Williams and 2004 Olympian Jamie Nieto in the men's high jump and 2008 Olympians Brian Johnson and Miguel Pate in the men's long jump. Two-time World Outdoor medalist Walter Davis returns to competition in the men's triple jump and will be joined by 2008 Olympic Trials champion Aarik Wilson. Reigning World Outdoor champion Brad Walker, the current world leader, headlines a field in the men's pole vault that includes Olympic silver medalist Evgeniy Lukyanenko (RUS), bronze medalist Denys Yurchenko (UKR) and Olympic Trials champion Derek Miles, who placed fourth in Beijing.

Eight Beijing finalists will compete in the women's high jump including, 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist Chaunte Howard, who took sixth. Olympic finalists Funmi Jimoh and Grace Upshaw are entered in the women's long jump, and two-time Olympian Krisitin Heaston and Liz Wanless are in the women's shot put.

For more information and complete results from the 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final, visit www.iaaf.org. Fans can watch the meet LIVE at www.universalsports.com, beginning at 9:15am ET, Saturday, September 13.