Kentuckian Gay Wins 100 Meters at U.S. OIympic Trials

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- Tyson Gay was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Gay qualified for the team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch at the Beijing Games.

Wearing a royal blue uniform with red and white diagonal stripes across the front, along with matching shoes, all in a tribute to 1936 Olympic star Jesse Owens, Gay dominated the competition. He started well and pulled out to a comfortable lead by the 40-meter mark.

This time, he kept pumping those legs all the way through the finish line, extending his lead. In Saturday's opening heat, Gay pulled way up, way too soon, and nearly was caught by the field, before accelerating again and lunging in for fourth place.

No such close call this time.

No one ever has covered 100 meters more quickly. The previous fastest time under any conditions was 9.69, run in 1996 by Obadele Thompson, who now is married to Marion Jones.

Gay's race came with the wind blowing at 4.1 meters per second; anything above 2.0 is not allowed for record purposes.

Walter Dix, the 2007 NCAA champion from Florida State, overtook Darvis Patton in the final 20 meters for second place. Dix clocked 9.80 and Patton 9.84, as each of the first six finalists turned in times under 10 seconds.

After the race, Gay and Dix looked at each other and slapped palms, then hugged.

The official world record is 9.72 seconds, set by Jamaica's Usain Bolt on May 31 in New York -- with Gay a distant second. That race sent Gay and his coach, Jon Drummond, to work, tinkering with the runner's start and style.

Drummond noticed Gay was bringing his feet too high behind his back with each stride, and they worked to correct that. Clearly, it's paying off.

After misjudging the finish in his opening heat Saturday, Gay ran 9.77 in a quarterfinal a few hours later, breaking the American record that had stood since 1999.

He's hoping to win both the 100 and 200 at this meet -- and at the Beijing Olympics. He pulled off that double at the 2007 world championships, and qualifying at these trials in the 200 begins Friday.

In other event finals Sunday, 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson led a trio of favorites onto the Beijing Games roster in the men's 400-meter hurdles. Jackson won in 48.17, followed by reigning world champion Kerron Clement in 48.36, and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor in 48.42.

In the women's 400 hurdles, Tiffany Ross-Williams, Queen Harrison and Sheena Tosta qualified to go to China, with Williams finishing first in 54.03. But 2006 national champion Lashinda Demus, who gave birth to twins last year, failed to qualify. She finished fourth, beaten to the finish by Tosta by .14 seconds. Officials later announced Demus was disqualified, but the results were revised a second time, with officials saying instead that Latosha Wallace had DQ'd.

In the women's discus, Aretha Thurmond repeated her trials victory from 2004 by throwing 213 feet, 11 inches (65.20), and she'll be joined in Beijing by Suzy Powell-Roos, who's on her third Olympic team, and Stephanie Brown Trafton.

Reigning Olympic long jump champion Dwight Phillips has failed to qualify for the Beijing Games, finishing fourth at the U.S. track and field trials.

Trevell Quinley, Brian Johnson and Miguel Pate have made the team instead.

Phillips' longest jump was 26 feet, 11 inches (8.20 meters) -- less than an inch behind third-place finisher Pate.

Only two women made the team in the triple jump: three-time national champion Shani Marks and Erica McLain. Shakeema Welsch finished second Sunday, but her best effort was wind-aided and doesn't count for Olympic qualifying purposes.

Derek Miles, Jeff Hartwig and Brad Walker have qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in the men's pole vault.

Miles won the Olympic trials with a jump of 19 feet, one-quarter inches Sunday.

Hartwig, the former American recordholder who at 40 plans to retire this year, finished second to make his second Olympics.

Walker, who set the American record here (19- 3/4 inches) earlier this month at the Prefontaine Classic, was third.

In heats, three-time 400 national champion Sanya Richards, considered an Olympic favorite, was fastest in qualifying, clocking 51.08.

In the decathlon, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Bryan Clay was leading after five events, with 2003 world champion Tom Pappas in third place. They'll finish Monday.

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