Olympic champ Wariner runs best debut since 2006
By Charean Williams
18 March 2011
For not getting off to a fast start, Jeremy Wariner is off to a fast start. The three-time Olympic gold medalist was slow out of the blocks but still ran 20.71 seconds in the 200 meters, his best season debut since 2006.
"My first 30 meters wasn't what I wanted," said Wariner, who didn't begin working on his starts until Tuesday. "But I turned it on and ran really well, better than I have the past few years. I was happy with it."
Wariner, Olympic medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and TCU senior Jessica Young highlighted the TCU Invitational on Friday. Before a crowd of 2,330, Richards-Ross ran 23.06 in the 200, and Young ran 11.14 in the 100.
Young wasn't supposed to run her best event only a week after placing second in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
"I was supposed to open up with the 400, so it was kind of spur of the moment," said Young, who redshirted last year after finishing second in the 100 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2009. "But I don't feel tired from the indoors, so we said, 'Let's go for it.'"
In 2009, Young opened her outdoor season with an 11.24, so she said her time Friday shows her improvement over the past two years.
While Young's 2011 goal is to win an NCAA title, Wariner and Richards-Ross are eyeing the world championships. Both are ranked first in the world in the 400.
"It's a huge year," Richards-Ross said. "It's a dress rehearsal for 2012 [and the London Olympics]. Everybody wants to go out and win the world title."
Wariner and Richards-Ross are back together under Clyde Hart, training in Waco.
Wariner left Hart only months before the 2008 Olympics to train under Michael Ford, Baylor's associate track coach.
But Wariner returned to Hart in 2009, after finishing second to LaShawn Merritt in the 2008 Olympics. Wariner won the 2004 Olympic gold medal and world championships in 2005 and '07 under Hart.
"It was like a divorce," Hart said. "We were out there at the same time sometimes, but he wasn't there [training under Hart]. There was a little tension, and it just wasn't good."
Hart refuses to second-guess what might have been in the 2008 Olympics if he still had been Wariner's coach.
"You just don't know," he said. "I wish I'd had him, but that can't be changed. It's just the way it is."
Wariner, 27, is just happy to be back and looking to the future. His relationship with Hart has improved since the split, he said.
"Once we got back together, we worked everything out," the Arlington Lamar and Baylor product said. "We've been stronger than we ever have, or closer than what we were in the past. I'm learning a lot more than what I have in talking to him about what we're doing and why we're doing it."