100m

Justin Gatlin, English Gardner lead Olympic 100m team

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Justin Gatlin and English Gardner qualified for the U.S. Olympic team with wins in the men’s and women’s 100m.

Gatlin took the men’s competition in 9.80 seconds, the fastest time of the year. He will compete at his third Olympics in Rio and look to add to his four Olympic medals.

“I wasn’t too worried about the time,” Gatlin said. “Last year I was all about time and running fast and consistent, but this year I was trying to rise to the occasion, rise to the moment.”

Gatlin made his Olympic debut at the 2004 Games where he won three medals. After missing the 2008 Olympics while serving a four-year doping ban, he returned to the track and competed at the London Games where he won bronze in the 100m. At the 2015 World Championships, he finished second to Usain Bolt in the 100m and 200m.

Trayvon Bromell (9.84) and Marvin Bracy (9.98) will join Gatlin as part of the U.S. Olympic men’s 100m team.

Tyson Gay, the American record holder, finished in fifth. He will not compete individually at the 2016 Games, but should make it onto the 4×100 relay.

English Gardner won the women’s 100m in 10.74 seconds. Gardner has won silver medals in the 4x100m at both the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, but she was seventh in the 2012 Olympic Trials.

“I remember in 2012, I sat in the car, and I cried,” Gardner said. “I cried my eyes out and came to the realization that I never wanted to feel that feeling again, and so when I crossed the line and saw the results, I didn’t really care if I came in first, second or third, I was just excited that I made the team.”

She will make her Olympic debut in Rio alongside Tianna Bartoletta (10.776) and Tori Bowie (10.779) on the U.S. Olympic women’s 100m team.

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Usain Bolt begins quest for 3rd Olympic gold at Jamaican Trials

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Usain Bolt spent a few minutes on the grassy infield of National Stadium after his race Thursday night, putting himself through some very slow cool-down jogs.

It was an easy end to an easy night.

Officially beginning his quest for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter dash, Bolt cruised his way through the quarterfinals at the Jamaica National Senior Championships – which serve as his country’s trials to decide who goes to the Rio Games in August.

No one has ever won three golds in the 100, which is what both Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could do in Rio. They’ll be among the favorites to qualify for the team on Friday night, when the 100 semifinals and finals are held about two hours apart for both the men and women. The 200-meter qualifiers are Saturday and the semis and finals in that event come when the meet ends Sunday.

Bolt completed his quarterfinal in a jog-for-him time of 10.15 seconds. Fraser-Pryce won her quarterfinal in 11.38 seconds.

“It was about advancement,” Jamaican sprint star Veronica Campbell-Brown said.

True. Thursday was little more than an obligatory dress rehearsal for Bolt and the other top Jamaicans. He changed clothes trackside after his race, left his flimsy white plastic chair without a word and headed to the infield for a brief workout that was capped by some photos with fans – even some policemen. As he walked back across the track and into the night, a song blared throughout the stadium’s speaker system.

“Mi nah falla nobody,” was the lyric.

Even when translating the lyrics from Patois to English, the message was clear.

No, Bolt doesn’t follow anybody, and doesn’t plan to anytime soon, either. He wasn’t the fastest on Thursday night – that distinction went to Nickel Ashmeade, who won his heat in 10.07 seconds, though certainly no one would label him as the favorite for Friday.

The closest thing Bolt had to trouble on Thursday was a false start in his heat, though it didn’t seem to affect him whatsoever. Jamaica’s biggest track names – Bolt, Fraser-Pryce, Campbell-Brown, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell – all advanced out of the quarters with ease.

An NCAA champion earned his trip to Rio, when Arkansas’ Clive Pullen – a Kingston native who was the Division I indoor champion this past winter – won the triple jump and did so while hitting the Olympic qualifying standard. He’s the first Jamaican to earn a triple-jump Olympic spot in 44 years.

“To do it on home soil is a blessing,” Pullen said.

Pullen was already daydreaming about walking into the opening ceremony in Rio in the same group as Bolt.

“Cannot wait,” Pullen said.

Trayvon Bromell doesn’t fear Usain Bolt, bigger, older sprinters

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Trayvon Bromell swore off sprinting — all sports, really — after taking his third ride to the hospital in as many years.

Among his injuries:

— Severely injured left knee on a back flip gone wrong in eighth grade.

— Damaged right knee while grabbing a rebound during a basketball tournament in ninth grade.

— Cracked hip in a 100-meter race as a sophomore.

On his way to the doctor after hurting his hip, he told his mom, “Let’s just stop here before I can’t walk anymore.”

Time healed those wounds and Bromell has bounced back to become one of the top American sprinters. The 20-year-old may even be the one to give Usain Bolt a run for the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games if he makes the 100-meter team at Olympic Trials this week. It won’t be automatic with Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers around, along with the fact that Bromell has been dealing with a tender Achilles in the lead-up to trials.

“My biggest dream was to go to the Olympics, but I never knew how I was going to be there,” said Bromell, who kicks off his quest to reach Rio with a 100-meter heat Saturday and is entered in the 200. “If I could go as a spectator, just to sit and watch, my dream would have come true. But to actually be there and compete? I just might lose my mind.”

At 5-foot-9, 156 pounds, nobody will confuse Bromell with Bolt, who is 6-5, 205.

Bromell’s small frame hasn’t slowed him down. He turned pro last fall after two NCAA titles at Baylor. Bromell hired the same agent as Bolt and signed a shoe deal with New Balance.

“This image of, ‘Oh, you have to have this look to be great.’ Well, you don’t,” said Bromell, who’s from St. Petersburg, Florida. “I want to show everyone that it is possible.”

That’s partly because he never thought he’d even be in this place, especially after fracturing his hip in high school — the final straw, he figured, in his athletic career. One moment Bromell was flying down Lane 6 and the next he woke up on the grass after blacking out because of pain.

Time for a new path. Maybe as an engineer, he thought. Or as a tattoo artist or maybe a stint in the Army.

His mom, though, convinced him to give it one more shot.

So, once his hip healed, back to the track he went. Bromell’s first race back wasn’t that spectacular — he ran 11.33 seconds, which was well off his personal best. But it may have been one of his best races because it rekindled his desire.

Bromell was named Gatorade’s national track and field athlete of the year in 2013, in part because he ran the fastest time ever (9.99 seconds) by a U.S. prep athlete regardless of wind conditions. He also won the USA junior championships.

Turns out, he actually recruited Baylor. The Bears were known more for producing 200- and 400-meter runners such as Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner, but Bromell signed up and set all sorts of records. He holds the top-10 fastest 100 times at Baylor.

“Nothing really surprises me when Trayvon gets on the track,” said Baylor associate coach Michael Ford, who trains Bromell. “He’s got an inner focus that I haven’t seen from a young sprinter, especially one on this big of stage.”

At the 2015 world championships in Beijing, he tied for the bronze medal in the 100 with Andre De Grasse of Canada. Three months ago, he gained more confidence by winning the 60-meter race at the world indoor championships in Portland over a field that included Jamaican Asafa Powell.

“I’ve always been a confident person. I don’t fear too many things,” Bromell said. “No man on this earth will put fear in me.”

Now, his time has come. And though reports say he’s been dealing with an Achilles sprain since May, he has taken time off from meets and expects to be fresh — he told the Tampa Bay Times — for what’s sure to be a competitive race for one of three spots.

“It all comes down to who has the strongest mindset,” Bromell said. “A lot of people don’t see me big as a big threat, because of my stature and size. A lot of people count me out, just because people are bigger than me. At the end of the day, if you have a stronger mindset you can overpower anyone.”

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