Olympic Trials notebook: Gay sets another mark in 100
BY CHARLES WHISNAND
Appeal Sports Editor
EUGENE, Ore. ” Ato Boldon was a prophet ” sort of.
The legendary sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago who is working as a color commentator for NBC’s telecast of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials, predicted that a world record would be set in the 100 meters on Sunday at Hayward Field.
“We might see a world record today,” Boldon said.
Tyson Gay went on to run the fastest 100 ever in Sunday’s finals, winning in 9.68 seconds. But because his run was wind-aided, Usan Bolt’s record of 9.72 seconds still stands. Bolt set the world mark earlier this year.
Gay, who set the American record at 9.77 earlier in these trials, appeared to be ready to set a world record when he cruised to a win in the semifinals in 9.85.
Even though it’s not a world record, Hayward Field’s public address announcer put it best when he told the crowd about the 100 that it had just witnessed the “fastest ever run by a human being.”
It’s easy to see why USA Track and Field decides to hold the Olympic Trials as often as possible at Hayward Field. For the third straight day, the crowd exceeded 20,000 at 20,733. And there were at least 1,000 fans just outside of the stadium sitting on the ground watching the meet on a Big Screen.
And these fans just don’t show up for the “marquee” events. The stadium was packed early in the afternoon well before any of the finals were held.
And it’s a knowledgeable and supportive crowd. Take the thousands of fans who would do a rhythmic clap as each athlete in the decathlon would approach the take off in the long jump. At 10 a.m.
Sanya Richards, ranked No. 1 in the women’s 400, put it best: “The fans are incredible,” she said.
COMPLICATED DECATHLON SCORING
While Bryan Clay, who is coached by 1983 Carson High School graduate Kevin Reid, leads the decathlon it’s not because of where he placed in each event; it’s because of his marks.
Where an athlete places in an event is irrelevant. The athlete’s scoring is totally dependent on where he places, which is why the decathlon is so grueling.
Even when an athlete has won an event, he can’t rest on his laurels because he’s got to have as good of mark as possible. The margin of a lead over his closest opponents is what’s most important. Clay leads the decathlon with 4,476 points while Trey Hardee is second at 4,454 and Tom Pappas is third at 4,405.
Richards cruised into today’s semifinals with the fastest time in the preliminaries at 51.08… Suzy Powell-Roos was able to qualify for the Olympics on her final throw in the women’s discus. She was in fourth, one place out of an Olympic qualifying berth, when she uncorked a throw of 206 feet, 5 inches to move into second. Aretha Thurmond won at 213-11. Shani Marks won the women’s triple jump with the third best jump ever by an American, 47-02 1/4…Much like Clay, who almost no-heighted in the high jump, Jeff Hartwig, one of America’s top pole vaulters, also had a scary moment. Hartwig almost no-heighted at 18-0 1/4 before clearing the bar on his third and final attempt. Hartwig went on to qualify for the Olympics at 18-8 1/4, finishing second behind Derek Miles, who won at 19-0 1/4…Dwight Phillips, though won’t be so lucky. He won’t defend his 2004 Olympic title as he finished fourth in 26-11, less than an inch behind third place finisher Miguel Pate, who leaped 26-11 3/4. Trevell Quinley won at 27-5 1/4 and Brian Johnson was second at 27-2 3/4.