Ultra talented men's sprinters/hurdlers to compete at World Outdoor Championships

08-06-2009

Contact:
Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
317-713-4690

INDIANAPOLIS - Tyson Gay, LaShawn Merritt, Jeremey Wariner, Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement, David Payne and Terrence Trammell will headline a talented and highly accomplished group of Team USA sprinters and hurdlers at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, August 15-23 in Berlin, Germany.

This will be the first time Team USA has returned to Berlin for a major international championship competition since the 1936 Olympic Games, where National Track & Field Hall of Famer Jesse Owens won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.

The men's sprints and hurdles (100m, 200m, 400m, 110mH, 400mH) have always been a strong suit for Team USA in international competition, and that held true again at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where, led by sweeps of the 400m and 400m hurdles, Team USA men won 11 out of the possible 15 medals in those five events.

100m

Tyson Gay, who was slowed by injury at the 2008 Olympic Games, enters the championships as the reigning 100m and 200m world champion, and with that designation has earned an automatic bye for both events into the World Outdoor Championships. Gay, who won the 100m gold medal at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan in 9.85 seconds, posted the fastest 100m time in the world this year of 9.77 seconds with his win in Rome on July 10. Gay versus 100m and 200m Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica is widely regarded as the most anticipated match-up of the Berlin World Championships.

Gay will be joined on the Team USA roster by up-and-coming-star and reigning USA Indoor 60m and USA Outdoor 100m champion Michael Rodgers, who won the 2009 100m national title in Eugene, Ore., in 9.91 seconds (+3.1 mps.). Rodgers, who nearly quit the sport in 2007 until former Jackson State coach Darryl Woodson began mentoring him, posted his personal best time of 9.94 seconds June 7 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic.The wily veteran of the group is 31-year old Darvis "Doc" Patton, who qualified for last year's Olympics and this year's Worlds after spending the majority of his career primarily as a 200m specialist, winning the silver medal in that event at the 2003 World Championships in Paris. Patton, who finished second at the 2009 Nationals, owns a career best 100m time of 9.89 seconds from 2008, and a fastest clocking this year of 10.02.

2000 USA Junior champion Rae Edwards qualified for the Team USA roster with his third place finish in Eugene in 10.00w. Edwards, whose previous best finish at a USA Outdoor Championships was sixth in 2003 and 2005, posted his personal best of 10.02 in Hengelo on June 1, 2009.

200m

Tyson Gay also will headline the men's 200 meters in Berlin after winning the world crown at the 2007 Championships in Osaka by stopping the clocks in 19.76 seconds. Gay's performance bettered National Track & Field Hall of Famer Michael Johnson's World Outdoor Championships record of 19.79 set in 1995. Gay currently leads the world list in the 200m with his 19.58 clocking at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on May 30, which is the third-fastest 200m in history. Gay now owns the third and fourth fastest times ever over 200m, which include his New York performance and the 19.62 he ran to win the 2007 USA Outdoor Championships. Only USA Track & Field Hall of Famer Michael Johnson (19.32) and triple 2008 Olympic champion Usain Bolt (19.30) have run faster.

2004 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Crawford will look to win his first World Outdoor individual title in Berlin after winning the USA Outdoor Championships in convincing fashion in a blistering 19.73 seconds (+2.7 mps). Crawford won the race by a margin of nearly two meters over Florida State University standout and NCAA runner-up Charles Clark, who was the surprising runner-up in 20.00w. Clark, who owns a personal best of 20.22 from 2008, finished just ahead of two-time World Outdoor Championships medalist (2005, silver - 2007, bronze) Wallace Spearmon, who finished third in Eugene in 20.03w. In Berlin, Spearmon will attempt to become the first man to win three consecutive World Outdoor Championships 200m medals since Namibia's Frankie Fredericks won four in a row (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997).

400m

Team USA's men's quarter milers captured the gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and with LaShawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner leading the way, they'll look to accomplish that same goal at the World Championships in Berlin.

The reigning Olympic gold medalist who is ranked #1 in the world, LaShawn Merritt enjoyed a dream season in 2008, and he's shown no signs of letting up this year. Merritt, who posted the top 400m time in the world this outdoor season of 44.50 on May 1, and ran the identical time in winning at the USA Outdoor Championships, posted the #2 all-time mark and a sea level world best with his winning 300m time of 31.30 seconds at the June 7 Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Merritt will be challenged by 2004 Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion Jeremy Wariner, who was ranked #1 in the world from 2004-2007, and was ranked #2 globally last year. A two-time defending World Outdoor 400m champion and the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, Wariner is looking to reign again as the world's top quarter-miler.

A three-time All-American at Texas Tech, Gil Roberts finished as the runner-up at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships as a collegiate sophomore. In qualifying for his first-ever World Outdoor Championships team, Roberts finished the race in 44.93 after posting his career best of 44.86 in Lubbock, Texas on May 17.

2008 Olympic Trials finalist Lionel Larry rounds out the quartet after placing fourth at Nationals in 45.40. Larry posted his personal best of 44.63 last year in Des Moines, Iowa. Reigning world 400m hurdles champion Kerron Clement finished third in the 400m at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships, but declined his spot on the 400m roster to focus on defending his 400m hurdles crown in Berlin.

110m Hurdles

America's tradition of great men's hurdling was enhanced at the 2008 Olympic Games as the U.S. took home five of the six available medals in those events.

Olympic Games silver medalist and 2007 World Championships bronze medalist David Payne will be a favorite to appear on the Berlin medal stand. Payne won his first career USA Outdoor title in June with his seasonal best winning time of 13.12 seconds. His personal best of 13.02 occurred at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships in Osaka in winning the bronze medal.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell will look to add to his World Outdoor Championships hardware collection that includes silver medals from 2005 and 2007. Trammell, who ended the 2008 season ranked #3 globally, posted the fifth-fastest time in the world this season with his 13.12 clocking first posted from his win at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on May 30, and matched that when he finished as the runner-up at the USA Outdoor Championships.

2004 World Junior champion Aries Merritt, who ended the 2008 campaign ranked #6 in the world, punched his ticket for Berlin with his third-place finish at the USA Outdoor Championships in his seasonal best time of 13.15 seconds. Merritt posted his personal best of 13.09 in 2007.

400m Hurdles

Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson enter the Championships as the top ranked men's 400m hurdlers in the world, and they will look to prove that point again in Berlin.

In leading a U.S. medal sweep at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Taylor won his second Olympic 400m hurdles gold medal by leading from start to finish in a personal-best time of 47.25 seconds. Taylor, who won the 2000 Sydney gold medal running out of lane 1, joined National Track & Field Hall of Famer Edwin Moses as the second man ever to win Olympic 400m hurdles gold medals eight years apart. Taylor finished third at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships in 48.30 seconds.

Kerron Clement, who entered the Beijing final as the 2007 world champion, was slightly behind Taylor coming off the final curve and went on to the silver medal in 47.98 seconds. Clement earned his 2008 #1 world ranking by posting wins in seven of 10 events, which included victories in Rome, Paris and London. Clement's fastest time this year of 48.09 came from his win in Rome on July 10.

2005 world champ Bershawn Jackson, who beat Clement and Taylor earlier this season at the June 7 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, captured the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics with his time of 48.06, which secured an American men's 400m hurdles sweep for the fifth time in Olympic history (1904, 1920, 1956, 1960, 2008). Jackson posted the second-fastest time in the world this season of 47.98 on July 28 in Monaco.

2008 World Junior Championships silver medalist and Olympic Trials fifth-place finisher Johnny Dutch finished as the runner-up at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships, where he set his personal best of 48.18 seconds. A sophomore at the University of South Carolina, Dutch is the reigning SEC champion and finished as the runner-up at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

NBC, Versus to broadcast meet

The 2009 World Championships will be broadcast in the United States daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.

August 15: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. NBC

August 16: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. NBC

August 17: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Versus

August 18: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Versus

August 19: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Versus

August 20: 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Versus

August 21: 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Versus

August 22: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. NBC

August 23: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. NBC

For more information on Team USA at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, visit: www.usatf.org.