Carmelita Jeter

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Fastest woman alive retires

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NEW YORK — Carmelita Jeter, the second-fastest woman in history, is no longer competing in track and field.

“I am going to miss when they say, ‘Carmelita Jeter, lane five,’ and everyone screams,” Jeter, a 37-year-old who last competed in June 2016, said Thursday night at the USATF Black Tie and Sneakers Gala.

Jeter is the fastest woman alive. Her 100m personal best, 10.64 seconds, is second only to Florence Griffith-Joyner all-time.

At the 2012 Olympics, she took silver behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m and bronze in the 200m behind Allyson Felix and Fraser-Pryce. She also won the world title in the 100m in 2011.

But Jeter said her proudest accomplishment was not an individual race. She anchored the U.S. 4x100m relay, joining Tianna Bartoletta, Felix and Bianca Knight for gold in a world-record time of 40.82 seconds at the London Games (VIDEO).

In her garage, Jeter hangs an oversized photo of herself crossing the finish line and pointing a finger at the electronic clock.

“For four women who all run the same event to put their pride and ego aside,” Jeter said, “that is the most amazing thing I’ve done in my career.”

A left quad injury forced Jeter to withdraw ahead of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

She is now a motivational speaker, speed coach and manager for Total Sports, her professional agency. She considered trying out for the U.S. bobsled team, but reaggravated her left quad injury.

One of the sprinters Jeter works with, Aaliyah Brown, ran the opening leg as the U.S. won the 4x100m at the world championships on Aug. 12 in London.

To inspire additional athletes, Jeter is hosting a clinic on Dec. 2 in Los Angeles with sprint coach John Smith.

“I want to coach the next world record,” she said. “I want to make someone else a better Carmelita Jeter.”

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Carmelita Jeter’s busy summer will not include racing at U.S. Championships

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Carmelita Jeter hasn’t raced in nearly one year. The second-fastest woman in history jokes that you will probably see her at the U.S. Championships in Sacramento later this month.

“But you will not see me competing,” said Jeter, a 37-year-old who lives in the Los Angeles area.

Jeter, the 2011 World 100m champion and triple 2012 Olympic medalist, was slowed significantly by torn quads from 2013 through 2016. That forced her to withdraw ahead of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Jeter said the injuries are behind her now, but she decided that 2017 would be a year to let her body rest.

“Am I training? Yes, I am training, but I’m training to just stay in shape now,” Jeter said.

No U.S. Championships means no world championships for Jeter. Asked if she might compete again elsewhere later this year, or next year, and Jeter offered this with a laugh:

I have not retired. I’m still getting drug tested constantly.”

Olympic sports athletes generally make retirements official by filing paperwork to take their names out of a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drug-testing pool.

Jeter is adamant that she could come back to compete. The evidence is on her Instagram. Video of Jeter starting out of the blocks for the first time since her last quad tear 11 months ago.

But she has other priorities now. Jeter spent this past school year coaching at her alma mater, Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills.

“I can see the eyes of girls that haven’t gotten to where I’ve been,” she said. “It gave me the love of the sport again.”

Jeter is working with her professional agency, Total Sports, to hand-pick athletes to mentor and manage.

And she’s now writing a to-be-titled book due out by August that will be largely about her career. It has been a unique one.

After failing to make the 2008 Olympic team, Jeter put together a stunning four-year cycle that concluded with a medal of every color at London 2012.

In 2009, she broke 11 seconds in the 100m on 16 occasions in six months (some wind-aided, via Tilastopaja.org). Jeter had broken 11 seconds once in her life prior to 2009.

She dropped her personal best from 10.97 to 10.64 that year and became the second-fastest woman all time in the 100m, behind Florence Griffith-Joyner. Her incredible improvement at age 29 (advanced for sprinting) led to scrutiny and skepticism, but Jeter had a clean drug-test record.

“A lot of [the book] is going to be about how I felt when I ran 10.6 and how I didn’t get the notoriety I felt I should have received,” Jeter said. “There were so many question marks on my 10.6 when people weren’t asking all the right questions. They were asking me all the wrong questions. They weren’t asking me, what did I change? How did my life change? How did my mindset change? Those questions weren’t asked, as if those were not important.”

Jeter said three men were largely responsible for her improvement.

Famed sprint coach John Smith, whom she began working with in late 2008. A doctor, Craig Dossman, who worked on her body twice a week. And a nutritionist, Wayne Douglas.

At the 2012 Olympics, Jeter took silver behind Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m and bronze in the 200m behind Allyson Felix and Fraser-Pryce. She capped the meet by anchoring the U.S. 4x100m relay team to gold in a world-record time.

At the world championships, Jeter took 100m gold in 2011 and bronze in 2007, 2009 and 2013. She is the only U.S. man or woman to win an Olympic or world 100m title in this Jamaican-dominated era.

Jeter is now the same age as the oldest U.S. Olympic sprinter in history (Gail Devers was also 37 at the 2004 Athens Games). If she does come back, it will only be in the 100m, and likely not for another Olympics.

“If I just stay training and stay healthy, then we’re talking a different conversation in 2019,” Jeter said. “But for right now, 2020 is a bit far. It’s like looking down a long hallway. That’s really not where my eyes are set right now, but who knows what could happen.”

What’s for sure is that Jeter would be pleased if another woman comes along and runs faster than her 10.64.

“One thing I always say is somebody will come along and evolve,” she said.

Rio Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica is 24 years old and last year ran 10.70. This year, she has already run 10.78 into a slight headwind with the world championships still to come in August.

“Is she capable of running faster than me? Yes, she is,” Jeter said. “I’m not a hater. If it can be done, I want to see it.”

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Carmelita Jeter, Nick Symmonds pull out of Olympic Trials

Carmelita Jeter
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Carmelita Jeter, a three-time 2012 Olympic sprint medalist, and two-time U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds announced Thursday they will not compete at the Olympic Track and Field Trials that start Friday due to injuries.

Jeter, who took 2012 Olympic 100m silver, said in an Instagram video that she reaggravated a left quad injury that has bothered her for years. She has suffered two torn quads and once had surgery.

“It’s been a rough two years,” said Jeter, who is the second fastest woman ever with a 100m personal best of 10.64 seconds from 2009 (.15 off Florence Griffith-Joyner‘s world record). “I am still the fastest woman alive.”

Jeter’s best 100m time this year was 11.16 seconds, which ranked her outside the top 10 Americans going into Trials.

Symmonds, the 2013 World 800m silver medalist, is out of Olympic Trials due to a torn ligament and stress fracture in his left ankle, according to his social media.

Symmonds has struggled with injuries since he finished fifth at the London Olympics. He won the 2015 U.S. Championship, his sixth national title, but missed the 2015 Worlds due to a contract dispute with USA Track and Field.

He last raced May 18 and also was ranked outside the top 10 Americans in his event this year.

The top three finishers per individual event make the Olympic team at Trials, assuming they have met the Olympic qualifying time or mark.

MORE: Olympic Track and Field Trials broadcast schedule

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This is my left ankle, it has been good to me. It has held up for thousands of miles, helped me win six national titles, taken me to two Olympic Games. However, this left ankle of mine currently has a torn ligament and a stress fracture, it will not allow me to compete in the 2016 Olympic Trials. I should say I feel devastated, but honestly I feel nothing but happiness and gratitude that my legs have held up as long as they did. Not saying I've retired or anything, but my 2016 season is now over. I'll be in #Eugene for the next two weeks, if you see me, say hello! The saddest part for me is not getting to race for the people who came out to watch me run. Free packs of @rungum for everyone, on me.

A post shared by Nick Symmonds (@nicksymmonds) on