Wallace Spearmon en route to a decisive 200m triumph in Eugene (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 2 July 2012 – Eugene, USA

Spearmon, Tinsley, Demus and Reese shine as U.S. Olympic trials conclude in Eugene

Eugene, USAA compact programme of finals highlighted Day 8 of the US Olympic Trials in Eugene on Sunday (1), as the sun broke through after numerous days of rain and clouds.

Solid 200m victory for Spearmon

Maurice Mitchell led all competitors out of the curve in the men’s 200m but with 70 metres remaining, Wallace Spearmon made a powerful move and easily won with a wind-aided 19.82 (+2.3) with Mitchell clocking 20.14w. Isiah Young was running right behind Mitchell at the start of the straightaway and finished a close third with 20.16w as Calesio Newman was a breath behind in 20.17w. Two-time Olympian Darvis Patton (fifth in 20.24w) and Beijing silver winner Shawn Crawford (seventh at 20.37w) were other notables in the final.

Demus dominates

Daegu World champion Lashina Demus held the lead from start to finish in the women’s 400m Hurdles as she posted a season-best 53.98 for the win. T’Erea Brown stayed close to Demus for the first half of the race but then yielded to Georganne Moline on the final curve. Brown was never able to recover as Moline powered through for second in a PB 54.33 while Brown salvaged third with 54.81. Beijing finalist Tiffany Williams was unable to catch Brown on the run-in and finished fourth with 55.09.

Tinsley scores upset, Taylor and Clement London-bound

Michael Tinsley breezed past a struggling Angelo Taylor off the final barrier in the men’s 400m Hurdles to score an upset win with 48.33. Two-time Olympic gold medallist Taylor had enjoyed a big lead for most of the contest, but he badly miscalculated his step at the final hurdle and could not recover. Taylor still finished second with 48.57. Beijing silver winner Kerron Clement caught up with the bronze winner Bershawn Jackson at the top of the curve and the two waged a battle for third, which Clement won with 48.89 to Jackson’s 48.94.

Uceny and Manzano take 1500m titles

Last year’s top-ranked women’s 1500m runner, Morgan Uceny, took the lead on the penultimate back stretch and never relinquished her advantage en route to a 4:04.59 win. With Daegu finalist Uceny leading at the bell, current World champion Jenny Simpson and Beijing finalist Shannon Rowbury were running two-three. That pair stayed with each other until 150 remained, when Rowbury moved ahead. Simpson’s attempt to salvage third fell short as Rowbury prevailed, 4:05.11 to 4:05.17. Gabriele Anderson was fourth in 4:07.38.

Leonel Manzano outkicked Daego bronze winner Matthew Centrowitz over the final 50 metres to win the men’s 1500 metres, 3:35.75 to 3:35.84. Slowly clipping off rivals over the final lap, Beijing Olympian Andrew Wheating ran strongly for third in 3:36.68, with Andrew Bayer (3:37.24) and Robby Andrews (3:37.45) taking fourth and fifth. With 500 left, Centrowitz had moved into the lead with David Torrence and Manzano close behind, but the Texan’s finishing speed in the final stages proved to be the difference.

On her 23rd birthday, Brittany Borman delivered a shock to the competitors in the women’s javelin on her final attempt with a 61.51m throw. A PB by more than two metres, it catapulted her from fourth into an unexpected victory and was the A-standard she needed for an Olympic team spot. Beijing team member Kara Patterson held second with 59.79m, while Kimberley Hamilton took third at 58.04m. Hamilton lacked the A-norm, so the remaining team nomination will go to fourth-place Rachel Yurkovich (56.85m). It was a historic competition, marking the first time since 1988 that the US will send a full contingent of women javelinists to the Games.

Reese leads three beyond seven metres

Brittney Reese captured her fifth-straight US title in the women’s Long Jump, but it took a protest to achieve it. Taking the final jump of the day, the Daegu World champion drew a red flag from the judge at the takeoff board. Reese protested the call, the jump was measured, and after video review her world-leading 7.15m effort was upheld as the winner.

Until that moment, it appeared that an even bigger jolt than that in the javelin had come at the hands of Chelsea Hayes, when the Louisiana Tech student leaped an incredible 7.10m on her final attempt to momentarily steal the competition from more highly decorated rivals. Hayes’ previous best had been 6.66m. She still finished second, as Janay DeLoach claimed third with 7.08w. Whitney Gipson took fourth with 6.97m.

DeLoach had a wind-legal 7.03m jump, making this competition the first time that three Americans had ever posted seven-metre jumps in the same competition and the first instance of a 'triple seven’ anywhere since the Athens Olympics eight years ago.

Early Sunday morning, the trials of the women’s 20-kilometre race walk (on the track) were held at Hayward Field. Maria Michta held off Miranda Melville in the final metres of the competition, 1:34:53.33 to 1:34:56.92. Michta will be the sole Olympic entrant in the event as no competitor had the A-standard. Former Eugene resident Erin Gray was third in 1:35:40.05.

Women’s 100m run-off set for Monday

Finally, USA Track & Field announced that the third position for the women’s 100m on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team will be determined by a run-off between Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, 2 July. The race will be held at Hayward Field and broadcast live on NBC.

The tie-breaking decision came Sunday afternoon after a meeting with the athletes, their representatives, coach and USATF officials.

Tarmoh and Felix on 23 June finished in a dead heat for the third and final Olympic Team position, in 11.07, behind winner Carmelita Jeter and second-place Tianna Madison. On Saturday, Felix won the women’s 200m in 21.69 seconds, with Tarmoh fifth in 22.35.

UPDATE: 3 July 2012 - Tarmoh has withdrawn herself from consideration, giving the third 100m spot to Felix.

Ed Gordon for the IAAF

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