Trayvon Bromell

Tyson Gay, Trayvon Bromell eliminated in 100m heats at USATF Outdoors

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Olympians Tyson Gay and Trayvon Bromell were eliminated in the 100m first round at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series), failing to make the world championships team in the event.

Gay, 34, is racing this weekend eight months after the death of 15-year-old daughter Trinity Gay. His last attempt to make the world team is in the 200m on Saturday and Sunday in Sacramento, but Gay is an underdog there, too.

Gay was third in his 100m heat in 10.17 seconds on Thursday, well off his American record of 9.69 seconds set in 2009. The top two automatically made Friday’s semifinals.

“I had a slight stumble in the blocks and couldn’t really recover,” Gay told media in Sacramento, adding that he was dealing with minor injuries this year.

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Starting in 2005, Gay had qualified for every Olympics and world championships except for 2011. He also was taken off the 2013 Worlds team for failing a drug test.

Gay is the last man to outsprint Usain Bolt at an Olympics or worlds, sweeping the 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles in 2007. Gay is the fastest man in history without an Olympic medal to his name.

Bromell, a 2015 World 100m bronze medalist, finished third in his heat in 10.22 fading in the last half. Bromell, 21, was racing for the first time since the Rio Olympics, coming back from Achilles surgery. He was racing hurt.

After summer surgery, Bromell kept off his foot until January, but when he returned to the track the pain came back. Bromell missed another month of training. He’s still dealing with inflammation, but a doctor said there’s no chance he could tear anything in Sacramento.

“When I got to like, 50 [meters], I started feeling some pain,” Bromell told media in Sacramento. “I wanted to show people that I’ve got heart.”

Bromell is not racing in the 200m this weekend, so he is definitively out of worlds in London in August.

“Next year, you’re going to see a new Trayvon,” he said.

The other favorites — Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman — won their heats in 10.0 and 9.93, respectively, to advance. The final is also Friday, when the top three will qualify for the world 100m team and likely the top six for the 4x100m relay.

Gatlin said this year is “probably the most injured I’ve ever been.” He missed weeks of training, slowed by a quadriceps/groin problem since February, according to The Associated Press.

In the women’s 100m, all the favorites advanced to Friday’s semifinals, including Rio Olympic silver medalist Tori Bowie (10.90), nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix (11.03) and Olympic Trials winner English Gardner (11.04).

Felix has a bye into the world championships 400m as defending champion, which she plans to race. Her worlds schedule beyond that is to be determined.

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Justin Gatlin speeds up in Eugene, but another gear needed against Usain Bolt

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EUGENE, Ore. — Justin Gatlin says there’s more left in the tank for Rio. He will need it if Usain Bolt, after recovering from his hamstring injury, is the Bolt of 2015.

As expected, Gatlin won the 100m at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday afternoon. He is now the world’s fastest man for 2016, but he is also slower than his torrid pace from 2015.

“I think there’s more there,” Gatlin said.

In the final, Gatlin clocked 9.80 seconds with a significant tailwind — 1.6 meters per second.

He became the oldest man to make a U.S. Olympic team in a sprint event (100m, 200m or 400m) since 1912.

Gatlin will be joined in Rio by Trayvon Bromell, the 2015 World Championships co-bronze medalist racing at his first meet since suffering a grade-one Achilles tear one month ago.

Bromell clocked 9.84 seconds for second place Sunday, matching his personal best to become, at age 20, the youngest U.S. Olympic men’s 100m runner since 1984.

Marvin Bracy, who passed up playing football for Florida State to pursue a professional track career in 2013, took third in 9.98 seconds.

Several other stars made the Olympic team Sunday. Allyson Felix fought through an ankle injury to win the 400m, halfway to her planned Olympic 200m-400m double. Ashton Eaton prevailed in the decathlon, also while not 100 percentVashti Cunningham became the youngest U.S. track and field Olympian in 36 yearsEnglish GardnerTianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie provided the fastest women’s 100m podium of all time, all sub-10.80 seconds.

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But the sport’s marquee event is the men’s 100m. And Bolt-Gatlin is the premier (and one-sided) rivalry.

If Gatlin proved anything Sunday, it’s that he is still the world’s top challenger to Bolt. There were doubts coming into this meet, as his best time this year was 9.93 seconds (fifth in the world).

The last two days, Gatlin ran 10.03 in the first round, 9.83 in the semifinals and then the 9.80 final. He now owns the two fastest times in the world this year, though slower than his 9.74 and 9.75 from spring 2015.

“Last year was all about time and running fast and being consistent,” said Gatlin, who suffered a significant ankle injury in the offseason. “This year is about rising to the occasion, rising to the moment.”

And it is unknown how Gatlin will handle the moment in Rio next month. In 2015, Gatlin went to the world championships favored to beat Bolt on the strength of those spring times and injuries to the Jamaican legend the previous year. Many rooted against him, because Gatlin was five years removed from a four-year doping ban and because of the universal admiration for Bolt.

Gatlin led the 100m final until the last few strides. Bolt closed the gap two lanes to his left, and Gatlin made what Michael Johnson called “a Bolt-forced error,” stumbling slightly, flailing his arms and unfurling his usually crisp form.

Bolt won in 9.79. Gatlin was second in 9.80, into a slight headwind.

On Sunday, Gatlin again ran 9.80, but with that tailwind and no late breakdown. NBC Olympics analyst Ato Boldon said that won’t cut it in Rio.

“You can think, oh, Bolt’s not 100 percent this year, and maybe it won’t take 9.6 to win this time, I think you do that at your peril,” Boldon told the House of Run podcast Sunday evening. “Unless you’re going to Rio with designs on running better than 9.70 or thereabouts, the medal you go home with is not going to be gold.”

Gatlin had little intention of getting caught up in Bolt talk Sunday evening. On the Hayward Field track, Lewis Johnson asked Gatlin about having to go through the Jamaican in Rio.

“First of all, I’ve got to face these young bucks right here,” Gatlin responded, standing next to Bromell and Bracy.

Later in the mixed zone, Gatlin was asked if he had any words for Usain. There were none, only a thumbs-up.

Gatlin said his last race before the Olympics will be the 200m here later this week. The next time he races the 100m, it will be in Rio, where Bolt may again be standing a lane or two away.

How does Gatlin plan to change the outcome from last summer?

“Don’t get greedy,” he said Saturday. “If I get greedy … you’re reaching for something that’s not there. You’re reaching for more. Once you’re up there trying to get it, you’re going to fall down.”

MORE: Cunningham becomes youngest U.S. track and field Olympian in 36 years

U.S. sprinters not looking at Usain Bolt’s injury as equalizer

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EUGENE, Ore. — Justin Gatlin paid no attention to the Jamaican Olympic Trials on Friday night, until he received a text message from a friend.

That’s how Gatlin learned that Usain Bolt scratched before the 100m final in Kingston due to a grade-one hamstring tear.

Gatlin’s response? You’re lying.

“Get a text out of nowhere saying that, it’s like April Fool’s,” Gatlin said. “Like, let me check the calendar real quick.”

Gatlin, the primary rival to Bolt since the 2012 Olympics, had no problem at his Olympic Trials on Saturday afternoon. He won his 100m first-round heat in 10.03 seconds. The semifinals and final are Sunday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN and NBC Sports app).

Though Gatlin has been slower this spring than his torrid pace of 2015, he obviously stands to benefit if Bolt is less than 100 percent at the Rio Olympics in one month. Assuming Bolt is named to the Jamaican team, which is expected but still complicated.

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Gatlin is the only man to beat Bolt in the last four years in a 100m or 200m (once, by .01, in June 2013).

He was favored to hand the Jamaican defeat at the 2015 World Championships, until Gatlin uncharacteristically lost his signature running form in the final strides of the 100m final and lost by .01.

Since, the 34-year-old Gatlin has downshifted, partially due to a serious offseason ankle injury. His best wind-legal 100m time so far this season is 9.93 seconds. At this same point last year, Gatlin had already clocked 9.74 and 9.75.

Bolt, meanwhile, ran 9.88 on June 11, his fastest time this early in a year since 2012. He was looking like a far stronger favorite for Olympic gold than in 2012, until Friday night happened.

Gatlin isn’t yet looking at Bolt’s setback as an equalizer. The key date is July 22, when Bolt is next scheduled to race and prove he deserves an Olympic berth.

“Maybe if I was a rookie, I would have thought I hit the lotto,” Gatlin joked. “Right now I’m just worried about beating a United States field.”

That field includes Trayvon Bromell, the 20-year-old co-world bronze medalist in the 100m from last year. Bromell had the fastest time of everybody on Saturday, taking his heat in 9.94 seconds. It was his first race since suffering a grade-one Achilles tear one month ago.

Bromell shares an agent with Bolt. He refused to speculate if a victory over a less-than-100-percent Bolt would mean any less than one over a fully fit world’s fastest man.

“I don’t look at anything like that,” Bromell said. “We all have the same dreams. You just want to make it to that level.”

Bolt has been injured going into global championships before. In 2004, he made his Olympic debut at age 17 as a medal contender but was eliminated in the first round, slowed by a hamstring injury. In 2012, he pulled out of his last meet before the Olympics citing a back injury.

“It’s a tradition,” Bolt’s former top rival, Tyson Gay, joked after advancing Saturday.

One man who knows what it’s like to race a doubted Bolt is Mike Rodgers. Rodgers came within .03 of Bolt at a meet in London on July 24 of last year, when Bolt showed medal-worthy form for the first time since 2013.

Rodgers deemed it fair that Bolt can be named to the Jamaican Olympic team without earning his place at Trials. But he didn’t agree with it.

“I feel like it’s a cop out,” said Rodgers, who is 0-16 in his career in individual races against Bolt, according to Tilastopaja.org. “He should run just like everybody else. But at the end of the day, he’s Bolt. … It’s fair. He’s the man. You can do what you want to do. It’s like Jordan. He’s the man. LeBron’s the man. So you know how that go.”

One track superstar who gets no such second chance is Allyson Felix, racing with a significantly painful ankle injury at Trials this week. The owner of 19 Olympic/world medals fought through it for a second straight day Saturday, advancing to the 400m final Sunday.

She has four more races left in Eugene, and she has to contest all of them if she wants to make the Olympic team in the 400m and 200m.

“If I could have another month, that would be ideal,” Felix said. “That’s not how it goes here in America, so just keep fighting.”

MORE: Russian Olympic boss takes swipe at Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay