Jeneba Tarmoh

Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin dominates 100m in Rome; Sally Pearson injured

1 Comment

Justin Gatlin continued his blazing start to the season, winning a 100m in Rome in 9.75 seconds on Thursday.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion five years removed from a four-year doping ban, beat the second-place finisher, France’s Jimmy Vicaut, by .23.

Usain Bolt, who hasn’t run faster than 9.98 since 2013 and missed much of last season due to injury, was not in the Rome field.

Gatlin, who ran a personal best 9.74 at age 33 in Doha on May 15, is the only man to break 9.80 since Bolt won the 2013 World title in 9.77. Gatlin has done so three times in that span.

“I feel confident running times around 9.70s,” Gatlin said, according to the IAAF. “I do not think of beating Usain Bolt now because the [World] Championships is not tomorrow. … 9.6 should be possible in the summer.”

In other events Thursday, an anticipated 100m hurdles race fell apart. Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson crashed to the track coming off the fifth hurdle and suffered a dislocated wrist plus two fractures, according to Australia’s track and field federation.

U.S. World champion Brianna Rollins hit the seventh and eighth hurdles, falling after the latter.

American Jasmin Stowers, the fastest in the world this year, lost control and ran into the ninth hurdle.

American Sharika Nelvis emerged to win in a personal-best 12.52, defeating 2008 U.S. Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson by .07.

“I ran my own race and did not see any of those three falls,” Nelvis said, according to the IAAF.

In the 200m, U.S. champion Jeneba Tarmoh won in 22.77, against a field that did not include Olympic champion Allyson Felix or Jamaican World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Fraser-Pryce pulled out after warm-ups due to a reported hamstring injury. Felix owns the fastest time in the world this year — 21.98 from May 15.

U.S. champion Francena McCorory prevailed in the 400m in 50.36. The race did not include Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross or Felix, who are the two fastest women this year.

American Jenny Simpson, the 2014 Diamond League champion, edged the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan by .37 in the 1500m with a final straightaway pass in a battle between two favorites going into the World Championships in Beijing in August.

U.S. champion Johnny Dutch took the 400m hurdles in 48.13, which was .04 off the fastest time in the world this year by countryman Bershawn Jackson on May 15. Jackson was not in Rome. The 10 fastest times in the world this year are shared among four Americans, including Olympic and World silver medalist Michael Tinsley.

The Diamond League moves to Birmingham, Great Britain, for a meet Sunday.

Flashback: Usain Bolt at the Athens 2004 Olympics (video)

U.S. holds off Usain Bolt at World Relays (video)

Ryan Bailey, Usain Bolt
Getty Images
3 Comments

The U.S. won gold over Usain Bolt at a global championship for the first time since 2007 in the 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday night.

The U.S. quartet of Mike RodgersJustin GatlinTyson Gay and Ryan Bailey clocked 37.38 seconds, beating the Bolt-anchored Jamaican team that finished in 37.68.

Rodgers, Gatlin and Gay provided a .48 lead to Bailey, according to IAAF splits, which proved too much of a deficit for Bolt to make up in a rematch of the anchor legs from the 2012 Olympics. At the London Games, Bolt and Bailey received their batons almost simultaneously, and Bolt won it by two tenths of a second.

“I’m not in the best shape,” Bolt told media in Nassau.

On Saturday, Bailey celebrated the U.S. victory by mimicking Bolt’s famous “To Di World” pose, turning it into a throat-slashing gesture.

“I feel comfortable bringing it home, running against Usain,” Bailey told media in Nassau.

The U.S. quartet included the three fastest Americans in the 100m in 2014, plus Bailey, who was fifth in the 2012 Olympic 100m.

The Jamaican quartet did not include Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake, who has been plagued by injuries since he matched Gay as the second-fastest 100m sprinter ever two weeks after the London Olympics. Nor did it include Asafa Powell, the 100m world-record holder before Bolt who was the fastest Jamaican 100m sprinter in 2014.

“We just need to go back to the drawing board [for the World Championships relay in Beijing in August],” Bolt told media in Nassau.

The World Relays were anticipated as a Bolt-Gatlin showdown, but Gatlin, the fastest 100m sprinter in the world in 2014, ran the second leg in both the preliminary heat and the final, as he did in the London Olympic final. Bolt and Gatlin have not raced head to head since 2013.

Gatlin and the U.S. and Bolt and Jamaica could face off in the 4x200m relay as the World Relays close Sunday night (Universal Sports, 7 p.m. ET).

Earlier in the women’s 4x200m relay, Jeneba Tarmoh and Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix collided on the final exchange, with the U.S. giving up the lead and failing to finish. Tarmoh couldn’t get the baton into Felix’s hand, and both runners fell. The 4x200m is not an Olympic event.

Tarmoh and Felix memorably tied for third place in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 100m final. No tiebreaker was in place, a runoff was eventually decided and Tarmoh chose not to run, giving Felix the final individual spot on the Olympic team in the event.

Nigeria ended up winning the women’s 4x200m after the Tarmoh-Felix collision.

The U.S. women fared better in the distance medley relay, breaking the world record. The distance medley relay, also not an Olympic event, includes a 1200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m.

The U.S. quartet of Treniere MoserSanya Richards-RossAjee’ Wilson and Shannon Rowbury clocked 10:36.50 (video here). The previous mark was 10:48.38, also set by the U.S., in 1988.

Richards-Ross is the Olympic 400m champion, Wilson was the fastest 800m runner in the world in 2014 and Rowbury was one of seven women to clock a sub-4-minute 1500m in 2014.

The U.S. quartet for Duane SolomonErik Sowinski, Casimir Loxsom and Robby Andrews edged Kenya to win the 4x800m relay (video here), which is also not contested at the Olympics. Kenya was then disqualified for an illegal baton exchange.

Solomon was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 800m final. Missing were Kenyan Olympic champion David Rudisha and American Nick Symmonds, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist.

Usain Bolt’s road to Rio Olympics, retirement to be made into documentary

Jeneba Tarmoh mulls representing Sierra Leone at Rio 2016 Olympics

Jeneba Tarmoh
1 Comment

Jeneba Tarmoh, part of the famous 100m tie at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and the reigning U.S. 200m champion, said there’s a chance she could represent Sierra Leone at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“I’m definitely considering it,” Tarmoh told Yahoo! Sports.

Tarmoh’s parents immigrated from Sierra Leone shortly before she was born in San Jose, Calif., in 1989. She spent about a year living in the West African nation at age 5, according to reports.

Tarmoh won the U.S. 200m title on June 29, with Olympic champion Allyson Felix not in the field.

In 2012, Tarmoh and Felix tied for third in the 100m at the Olympic Trials, where three women make the Olympic Team in the event. There were no tiebreaker procedures in place, officials determined a runoff to decide the spot, and Tarmoh ceded it to Felix rather than run.

Tarmoh still made the Olympic Team in the 4x100m relay that won gold (Tarmoh ran in the first round to earn her medal but not the final). She went on to finish fifth in the 200m at the 2013 World Championships. Felix tore her hamstring and fell to the track in the same race.

Even with the U.S. title, Tarmoh is the fifth-fastest U.S. woman in the 200m over all of 2014. She is tied for 10th-fastest in the 100m among Americans.

She would face very tough competition to make a second U.S. Olympic Team in two years.

Sierra Leone, which has never won an Olympic medal, sent two athletes to the London 2012 Games, both in track and field.

IOC to discuss recognizing Kosovo this week