The Olympic champion 12 years ago, Jeremy Wariner is not done with his track career just yet. His injuries have made more headlines than his times the past few years, but the 32-year-old thinks he has one more Olympics in him.
He’ll compete in the 400m at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials this weekend hoping to make a fourth Olympic team. Preliminary rounds for his event start Friday. He’ll likely need to post his best time in five years to earn a berth.
Wariner took gold in the 400m at the 2004 Athens Games with a time of 44.00 seconds. He followed with world titles in 2005 (43.93) and 2007 (43.45, the fifth-fastest time ever).
Wariner was upset at the 2008 Beijing Games by compatriot LaShawn Merritt, who crossed nearly a second ahead (43.75 to 44.74). But the silver was Wariner’s third of four Olympic medals (he also won gold in the 4x400m relay in both Athens and Beijing).
He qualified for the 2012 London Games only for the relay squad, but ultimately had to pull out after tearing his hamstring while training in London. He returned to win an indoor national title in 2013, but his outdoor times haven’t gone under 44 seconds since 2012.
Wariner’s fastest time in 2016 is 45.55. That’s well behind Merritt’s top American time of 44.22. In fact, 22 American men have posted better 400m times than Wariner this season.
But if he can finish in the top three at Trials, he’ll go to Rio. The third-fastest time for a U.S. 400m runner this year is 44.88 by Gil Roberts. If that’s the time to meet or beat, Wariner hasn’t gone that low since 2011. He could also earn another spot only on the relay team.
As a husband and father of three children, Wariner has begun to look at life after running. According to LetsRun.com, he’s running a Jimmy John’s franchise in Dallas.
Part of the reason he chose Jimmy John’s, Wariner said, was because the restaurant’s slogan is “Freaky fast.” That’s how he’ll need to run this weekend if he wants to run in Rio.
NBC 5 News in Dallas featured Wariner this week: