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Felix wins & Wariner 2nd in USA 400m titles

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Felix wins & Wariner 2nd in USA 400m titles  62779148
Allyson Felix celebrates after victory in the women's 400 metres
during the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.

Felix still going strong
After winning 400, she's only one of her generation still at peak.

By Philip Hersh,
Chicago Tribune reporter
June 25, 2011

EUGENE, Ore. — Allyson Felix is part of what loosely can be called the Athens Generation in U.S. track, the athletes who emerged as champions at the 2004 Athens Olympics or the seasons between then and the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

A year before the 2012 Olympics, many of those athletes are struggling to remain healthy and fast in a single event. Felix, meanwhile, simply speeds along at a pace that, if not yet historically breathtaking at any one distance, has allowed her to maintain an unmatched level in several events.

Allyson Felix When she beat the swirling wind and the field to win Saturday's 400 meters at the U.S. Championships, Felix became the first woman to take national titles in the 100 (2010), 200 (five times) and the 400. She also is the lone member of the Athens Generation to be performing as impressively this season as she had in making her first big impact as an Olympic silver medalist in 2004.

Pole vaulter Brad Walker, 2005 world silver medalist and 2007 world champion, did not clear a height Saturday. Wallace Spearmon, 2005 world silver medalist at 200 meters, did not advance past the first round. Lauryn Williams, 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2005 world champion at 100, did not make Friday's final.

Tyson Gay, double sprint world champion in 2007, withdrew from the 100, trying to preserve a body that is failing him. Sanya Richards-Ross, reigning 400-meter world champion, continues to struggle with the often debilitating effects of Behcet's Syndrome. Jeremy Wariner, who utterly dominated the 400 from 2004 through 2007, looked very ordinary staggering into second place Saturday.

It would not be surprising if neither Gay, 28, nor Wariner, 27, ever returns to the level that made them champions. Father Time eventually wins all races.

"Sometimes your body can't handle certain things,'' Felix said. "I've just been very blessed. My performance has been very consistent. I haven't had major drops.

"There are times you don't run as fast as you want to, and it's frustrating. But you have to be patient. My coaches always have told me it takes a long time for some people to run fast.''

Felix won the 400 in 50.40 seconds, well off her world-leading season best 49.81. She has the world's third-fastest time at 200, the event in which she has won three straight world titles and two straight Olympic silver medals.

That leaves Felix the issue of whether to try a 200-400 double at August's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where she also would like to run both relays. The schedule allows for such an attempt, but having the 400 before the 200, her favorite event, is a discouragement.

"She will definitely do the 200,'' said her coach, Bob Kersee.

As defending world champion, Felix did not need to run the 200 at nationals to make the team in that event. Kersee wanted her to run the 100, but she chose the quarter mile to make the 200-400 double possible. No woman has won both at worlds.

Felix thinks that versatility has added to her longevity.

"I have jumped around in events, not sprinting all the time, and that has helped,'' she said.

Even in 2006, the only season in the past eight when an injury significantly slowed her, Felix was No. 1 in the world at 200.

"I keep calling her little girl,'' Kersee said. "I think it's a progression, mentally and physically.''

It has not been without speed bumps. Felix was devastated when she didn't win the 200 gold at the 2008 Olympics. Three years later, still only 25, she has become, more than ever, a one-in-a generation athlete.

Last edited by Admin on Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:43 am; edited 1 time in total



Felix, McQuay nab US 400m titles

By Rebecca Bryan (AFP)
Google News
26 June 2011

EUGENE, Oregon — Allyson Felix won the women's 400m at the US athletics championships on Saturday and said she would decide soon if she would attempt a 200m-400m double at the World Championships.

"Hopefully pretty soon," Felix said of when a decision would come on the daunting double.

Felix, the three-time defending 200m world champion, remains concerned that contesting the 400m prior to the 200m at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, August 27-September 4 could jeopardize her chances in her favorite event.

In the meantime, however, she was savoring her 400m victory, which made her the first US woman to win national titles at 100m, 200m and 400m in a career.

Felix powered through the finish to win in 50.40sec. In windy conditions, she couldn't match her 2011 world-leading 49.81sec, but she had plenty in the tank to beat Francena McCorory (50.49) and indoor world champion Debbie Dunn (50.70).

"I knew this was going to be racing home," Felix said. "I wanted to be in position to use my speed."

In the men's 400m, university student Tony McQuay gave veteran Jeremy Wariner a glimpse of the future as Wariner tries to turn back the clock.

McQuay, a 21-year-old who was runner-up in the US collegiate championships 400m this year, surged past a fading Wariner in the final straight to win in 44.68sec.

Wariner held on to take second in 44.98, but just barely as third went to Greg Nixon in the same time as all three booked their world berths.

"My goal was to win the US title. I wasn't able to do that," said Wariner, who was pleased with his race despite the defeat. "My second goal was to make the US team. My main goal is to win at the World Championships."

Wariner, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist and world champion in 2005 and 2007, noted that McQuay, with the collegiate season behind him, is further along in his training at this point.

He said his own final 100m would improve in the coming weeks.

"I executed a great race," Wariner said. "My last 100 wasn't quite what I wanted it to be but I didn't panic."

McQuay, who said Wariner was his biggest role model, was delighted with the victory.

But McQuay made it clear he wouldn't be in awe of his more experienced rivals or the grand World Championships stage.

"Hopefully I'll get a win there, too!" said McQuay, who has one other lofty goal: the world record of 43.18 set by Michael Johnson way back in 1999.

"I've got my mind set on that," he said.

While the top three finishers here booked their spots in Daegu, the United States could have another runner in the 400m at worlds.

Reigning world champion LaShawn Merritt wasn't at the US championships as he completes a 21-month suspension after testing positive for a banned substance used in an over-the-counter male enhancement product.

He has a bye into worlds and his suspension ends in time for him to race there.

But he would need a waiver from USA Track and Field to compete without competing at the trials.

The governing body's board will meet after the US championships to determine Merritt's status.

David Oliver won the 110m hurdles in a time of 13.04sec, putting himself in position to challenge world record-holder Dayron Robles of Cuba and China's former world record-holder Liu Xiang in Daegu.

Aries Merritt was second in 13.12 and Jason Richardson third in 13.15.

Marquise Goodwin won the men's long jump with a leap of 8.33m ahead of rising talent Will Clay (8.19) and Jeremy Hicks (8.10). All were wind-aided.

Reigning world champion Dwight Phillips, who has a bye into Daegu, finished a disappointing 10th with a leap of 7.89.

"I'll be ready in September," Phillips vowed. "This year I've been off to a slow start. The only place I can go is up."

Women's 100m champion Carmelita Jeter was the top qualifier into the semi-finals of the 200m.

With Tyson Gay injured and Justin Gatlin opting out, Shawn Crawford led the way into the men's 200m semis. Men's 100m winner Walter Dix advanced to keep alive his chance at a sprint double, something Gatlin decided not to attempt after a runner-up finish to Dix in the 100m put him back on a World Championships team after his four-year drugs ban.

Wallace Spearmon, the 2009 World Championships bronze medalist, failed to advance.

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