Tyson Gay, Tori Bowie take U.S. 100m titles; Carmelita Jeter hurt

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American record holder Tyson Gay and Tori Bowie captured 100m titles at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Friday night.

Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross failed to qualify for the 400m final (race video here), meaning she will not run in the World Championships in Beijing in August.

In the 100m, Gay clocked 9.87 seconds for his biggest victory since returning from a doping ban last year and his first World Championships berth since 2009 (race video here).

“It means everything,” Gay told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “Just being able to come back from a mistake, show the world that you can make up for the mistake.”

“I think this is the most meaningful USA championship I’ve ever won,” Gay said later on USATF.TV. “I feel like this is the most, I wouldn’t say love, or respect that I’ve ever gotten. I’ve had so many people giving me high-fives, saying we love you, so glad to have you back, you’re a breath of fresh air.”

The U.S. men’s 100m team at Worlds will include Gay, Justin Gatlin (who didn’t run the 100m on Friday but has a bye as the 2014 Diamond League champion) and Trayvon Bromell, who finished second to Gay in 9.96, and Mike Rodgers, third in 9.97.

The Baylor rising junior Bromell’s college coach said before the meet, “if he goes big up there this weekend, which by all accounts he probably will, it’s going to be difficult for him to come back,” according to the Waco Tribune.

Bromell, 19, said Friday he does not have immediate plans to turn professional.

“Only way I’m going to come out is if I get what I’m worth,” Bromell said on USATF.TV. “I’m not like the average athlete that jumps when they see a dollar sign. … I don’t want to seem like I’m asking too much or anything, but I don’t want to be that person that gets gypped over and not get what they should get. I feel like if I’m not getting what I deserve, I’m going to stay in school because I guarantee my degree will get me what I’m worth.”

On Thursday, Bromell ran the fastest wind-legal 100m of the U.S. Championships, a 9.84 in the first round.

“He’s the future,” Gay said of Bromell, who called Gay his idol. “When I was in the back room, talking to some guys, it was just a new era. I’m not familiar with a lot of faces.”

Full U.S. Championships results | U.S. qualifiers for World Championships

Bowie took the women’s 100m final in 10.81 seconds (race video here), tying for third fastest in the world this year behind Olympic and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The soft-spoken Bowie, primarily a long jumper until spring 2014, qualified for her first Worlds team.

“It’s a huge step,” Bowie, the fastest woman in the world in 2014 in 10.80, told Johnson on NBCSN. “It’s kind of like a dream come true almost. Oh my gosh, I worked so hard to get to this level. Honestly, I would’ve been content to just get top three, but I’ll take first place any day.”

Bowie is joined on the U.S. women’s 100m team for Worlds by 2013 U.S. champion English Gardner, who was second in 10.86, and University of Oregon rising junior Jasmine Todd, who was third in 10.92.

The 2011 World champion Carmelita Jeter finished seventh, failing to make the U.S. team, and fell to the track after the race. The 35-year-old said she believes she tore her left quadriceps, according to Lewis Johnson.

Jeter suffered a right quad injury in May 2013 and went 10 months between races in 2013 and 2014.

Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee won the decathlon with 8,725 points to join Olympic and World champion Ashton Eaton on the Worlds team. Eaton had a bye and didn’t compete in the decathlon at Nationals.

Hardee’s point total was his highest since he won the 2009 World Championship.

In the women’s 400m, Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix and 2014 U.S. champion Francena McCorory led the qualifiers into Saturday’s final. Richards-Ross was fifth in her semifinal, failing to make the final.

World gold and silver medalists LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay were among the qualifiers into Saturday’s men’s 400m final, while 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner failed to advance out of the semifinals Friday.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, World champion Brianna Rollins and Summer and Winter Olympian Lolo Jones, along with the world’s two fastest women this year, Sharika Nelvis and Jasmin Stowers, advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Rollins has a bye onto the Worlds team and will be joined in Beijing by the top three women from the final.

Diamond League champion Jenny Simpson led the qualifiers into Sunday’s 1500m final, though Simpson has a bye into Worlds. She’s joined in the final by Shannon Rowbury and Mary Cain, among others.

Brenda MartinezAjee’ Wilson and Alysia Montano, who finished three-four-six at the 2013 Worlds, all qualified into Sunday’s 800m final.

World silver medalist Nick Symmonds and Olympic fourth-place finisher Duane Solomon made Sunday’s men’s 800m final.

The U.S. Championships continue Saturday (NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra, 4-6 p.m. ET) highlighted by the men’s and women’s 400m finals.

Powell, Fraser-Pryce win Jamaican Championships; Yohan Blake out

Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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Noah, Josephus Lyles, after years of supporting each other, meet on track’s highest level

Noah Lyles, Josephus Lyles
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When Noah and Josephus Lyles first talked about turning professional out of high school — Josephus brought it up before their junior year — the goal was, of course, to sprint on the sport’s highest international level — together.

They will do that in Monaco on Friday (2 p.m. ET, Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold).

The Lyles brothers will compete in the same Diamond League meet for the first time, and in the same race to boot. Though Noah has long focused on the 200m and Josephus the 400m, they will both contest the shorter distance at Stade Louis II.

“This is going to be really special,” Noah said.

“It makes me more comfortable, just knowing me and my brother are in the same race,” said Josephus, at his first Diamond League meet since 2018.

Noah, when asked the significance of the race that’s coming more than four years after they turned pro, suggested a reporter ask their mom.

“She’s probably over the moon right now,” he said.

Josephus remembered their mom, Keisha Caine Bishop, screaming in excitement upon learning last week that he earned a lane in Monaco. Noah, the reigning world 200m champion, was already in the field.

“It is definitely harder to watch,” when they’re in the same race, Bishop said, “but not because you’re worried about who’s going to win and who’s going to lose, because I don’t look at track like that.

“My nervousness more comes from I just want them both to do their best, so that we can all celebrate as a family. Because if one has a great race and the other one doesn’t have a great race, then it’s kind of hard for everybody to celebrate. You have to compartmentalize your emotions a little more.”

Bishop, an NCAA 4x400m champion at Seton Hall in the 1990s, is familiar with the balance. Even though her two sons born one year and four days apart last raced against each other in January 2017 at their first professional meet.

“The only reason I run track is because of Noah, honestly,” Josephus, who is younger, said while sitting next to Noah in 2017, days before their pro debut. “When I first started track, I quit because I didn’t like it.”

Josephus, a 400m/800m runner before giving it up, returned to the sport in eighth grade. He had planned to try out for the basketball team. Noah, originally a high jumper, was still doing track and field at the time, so Josephus went out for it, too. This time, he focused on races one lap and shorter.

“Turns out I was really good,” Josephus said. (The Lyles’ sister, Abby, ran one track race around age 6 and didn’t care for it, later finding her passion in biochemistry.)

Throughout high school, the brothers tore up tracks while attending T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Va., best known for the film “Remember the Titans.”

Bishop recalled the times one brother supported the other through adversity. Such as when Noah prayed for Josephus’ success in 2014, when Josephus was on crutches with a twisted ankle. Josephus came back that season to win the 400m at the New Balance Nationals, where Lyles took second in the 200m.

“When they race, they are more concerned about the other person than they are themselves,” Bishop said.

Or in 2016. Josephus suffered a season-ending torn right hip flexor two months before the Olympic Trials. A year before, as a high school junior, Josephus ran a 400m time that would have made the Olympic Trials final, where the top six of eight men would qualify for the Olympics.

Josephus still watched his brother race at trials, in the 200m, from the Hayward Field stands.

“He was trying to be strong,” Bishop said, “but I knew, as a mom, that it was very painful.”

Josephus excitedly detailed the experience on camera after Noah broke the national high school record and nearly pulled off the incredible, coming .09 shy of the Olympic 200m team of three men.

“Sometimes it can get a little hard. If one of us is doing well and the other one is not doing well, it can be rough,” Josephus said. “On the other hand, it can be really good because it’s a lot of support. It’s almost like an accountabili-buddy.”

The brothers achieved their goal by signing with Adidas shortly after trials.

Then in 2017, Noah strained his right hamstring and withdrew from the USATF Outdoor Championships before the 200m final. The family gathered before leaving the stadium in Sacramento.

“I said, ‘OK guys, we have to walk out of this warm-up area, and we have to do it as a team,'” Bishop said. “‘At the end of the day, the only people left will be the three of us. And it’s not just the end of today. It’s going to be the end of your careers. When all the newspapers are gone, television cameras, nobody’s writing about us, we are still a family, and that is all that matters.”

Josephus continued to battle the hip injury, yet lowered his 400m personal best in 2017 (making his Diamond League debut during Noah’s absence) and 2018. At the 2018 USATF Outdoors, Noah won the 100m and Josephus placed sixth in the 400m.

If it had been an Olympic or world championships year, both would have made the U.S. team. Instead, they looked to qualify for their first biennial world outdoor championships in 2019.

That spring, Josephus began throwing up every time he ate. He left a European swing after just one race. He saw several doctors leading into nationals, where he was eliminated in the semifinals. He got an endoscopy and learned his diaphragm was restricted, affecting his eating and breathing. It was fixed after the meet.

“A rough year,” Josephus said.

Noah won the U.S. 200m title two days after Josephus’ 400m semifinal. Noah took gold at the world championships in Doha, after which his most meaningful interaction came by phone with his brother, who was back home in the States after dealing with those chest problems.

Support flowed from both ends of the line — congratulations from an inspired Josephus and excitement from Noah, amped for the upcoming Olympic year and the prospect of a Lyles in every flat sprint and men’s relay in Tokyo.

“I never try to forget that I can be in that same position of being injured, and he could be the one doing well,” Noah said last fall. “So I want to always be able to bring good support to him.”

Noah and Josephus live together in a house near their training base in Clermont, Fla.

The pandemic relegated them to grass fields when tracks were closed for nearly two months. When they returned to more normal training, their coach, Lance Brauman, started putting Josephus in groups with 100m and 200m sprinters, including his brother, regularly for the first time.

Josephus, who beat Noah and world 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway for a Virginia high school indoor 55m title in 2016, raced a pair of 200m in July. He lowered a five-year-old personal best from 20.74 to 20.41 and then 20.24, which helped book the spot in Monaco.

“When I run 19 [seconds], that’ll be that next level,” said Josephus, while noting the 400m remains his primary event. “I still have a little bit ways to go. Hopefully, this weekend will be a game-changer.”

Here they are, the week after what would have been their first Olympics this summer. Noah and Josephus Lyles are in the same race at the most anticipated track meet of the year.

The Olympic cycle has been bittersweet, said Bishop, reminded of what she stressed to her sons through the ups and downs.

“Life comes in seasons, and your season might not come when you wanted it to come,” she said. “The lesson might not be the lesson you thought it would be, but your season will come.”

MORE: Four years later, life changes for runners who shared Olympic moment

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