2nd July, 2012
EUGENE, Oregon: Two-time Olympic runner-up Allyson Felix ran the sixth-fastest women’s 200 meters in history on Saturday, winning the final at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in 21.69 seconds.
Felix, embroiled in controversy over a deadlock for the final 100m Olympic spot, served notice she will be a gold favorite in London by surging to the lead quickly and leaving behind a world-class field to set a personal best.
Only doping-disgraced Marion Jones, Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey and the late world record-holder Florence Griffth-Joyner have ever run faster than Felix did to ensure she would reach the London Olympics.
“I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet,” Felix said. “For so long I have looked at those times and wanted to be on that list. But the job is not done. It’s all about London.”
It was the fastest time clocked in the event since Jones went 21.62 in 1998 in South Africa.
“It’s very rare for me to come off the corner in the lead,” Felix said. “There were so many strong people in the race you could never be comfortable. I just dug deep and tried to keep going.
“I was thrilled with my race. Everything came together at the right time.”
Carmelita Jeter, the reigning world 100m champion and 2011 world 200m runner-up, was second in 22.11 with Sanya Richards-Ross third in 22.22 to claim the other two Olympic berths on offer. There was a 1.0m/sec tailwind.
Jeter will go for a 100-200 double in her first Olympics, a choice she only made after winning the 100 last weekend.
“It’s one of the best feelings in the world and I’m not even in London yet,” Jeter said.
Richards-Ross will attempt a 200-400 double in London.
“I’m excited,” Richards-Ross said. “I wanted to be part of this team in two events. They didn’t make it easy for me but I’m glad I made it.”
Felix and training partner Jeneba Tarmoh shared third in a 100m dead heat last weekend and decided to delay a decision on breaking that deadlock until after the 200. Tarmoh missed the Olympics in the 200, finishing fifth in 22.35.
Tarmoh, Felix and their coach, Bob Kersee, were to meet with USA Track and Field officials to decide how to settle the controversy. USA Track wants a decision by Sunday. Kersee wants no coin flip and no run-off on Sunday.
“That’s not going to happen,” Kersee told reporters. “If they’re going to ask for a run-off (Sunday) after what these girls have put their bodies through it would be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.
“(And) I just don’t think the world can accept a coin flip at this point.”
The race featured seven of the 10 fastest women in the world this year, four of whom will not run at the Olympics in the event.
“Everybody could feel the excitement, the buzz,” Richards-Ross said.
“That’s the type of race you want to be part of.”
Aries Merritt, the reigning indoor world 60m hurdles champion, ran the best time in the world this year to win the 110m hurdles final in 12.93 seconds, lowering the 2012 best that had belonged to China’s Liu Xiang at 12.97.
“I had a pretty decent start and I started building from there,” Merritt said.
“To break 13 in the final like I did was just phenomenal.”
Reigning outdoor world champion Jason Richardson was second in 12.98 with Jeffrey Porter third in 13.08 to take the final London spot on offer.
“I learned I’m capable of doing whatever it takes whenever it counts,” said Richardson.
David Oliver, third at the 2008 Olympics, failed to reach London, finishing fifth in 13.17.
Wallace Spearmon, disqualified from a bronze medal spot at the 2008 Olympics for a lane violation, and Shawn Crawford, the 2004 Olympic champion and 2008 Olympic runner-up, won 200m semi-final heats to reach Sunday’s final.
“We definitely should drop into the sub-20 range,” Spearmon said.
He also noted that reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica lost to training partner Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials 100m final.
“It just proves to the world he can be beat,” Spearmon said. “I have made it a point to go to the Olympics undefeated. I’m doing that so far.”
Beijing Olympic runner-up Hyleas Fountain won the heptathlon with 6,419 points, her event-best long jump of 6.30m helping her win the two-day, seven-event competition by 76 points over Sharon Day.
World women’s high jump indoor champion Chaunte Lowe won with a 2012 world second-best of 2.01m, edging Brigetta Barrett on fewer misses.
Reigning world champion Christian Taylor won the triple jump with a 2012 world best of 17.63m.