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US Olympic Trials Day Four

US Trials Day Four: Glover takes 400 hurdles in season's world best
Bert Rosenthal (AP)

17 July 2000 – Sacramento, California - Sandra Glover, an elementary school teacher in Houston until this year, ran the fastest time in the world this year in winning the women's 400-metre hurdles in 53.33 seconds.

In the process, she beat world record-holder Kim Batten and the second-fastest ever, Tonja Buford-Bailey.

Glover led all the way in becoming the No. 4 U.S performer ever and making her first Olympic team. Glover was last year's U.S. champion and fifth at the World Championships.

Batten, who set the world record of 52.61 in 1995 at the World Championships, beating Buford-Bailey by 0.01 seconds, finished second at 54.70. Buford-Bailey, returning to competition after a two-year absence to have a family, was third at 54.80.

"I'm faster this year, I'm stronger,'' Glover said, "so I have to get used to handling the speed.

"I didn't do it at 22 or 23, but I'm here and I'm grateful ...31 years old and running strong. There were times I didn't have the same confidence that I have now, and that's going to be huge for me at the Olympics.''

Then, she said to Batten, "Sorry, Kim, but your record is going down this year.''

Four-time National Collegiate Athletic Association champion Seilalu Sua won the women's discus at 64.85 metres, the second-longest ever by an American and the longest in 14 years, only eight inches off Carol Cady's record of 65.05 metres.

Sua set the American junior record three times in 1997 and has a habit of hitting big throws in championship meets.

"In big meets I know I can turn it on,'' Sua said. "I'm very competitive.''

Suzy Powell finished second at 63.55 metres, and Kristin Kuehl was third at 60.78 metres.

Lynda Blutreich, the American record-holder in the javelin with the new implement, won the event at 57.35 metres – 13 inches (33 centimetres) short of her mark - and will be the only U.S. representative at the games if no one else reaches the 'A' standard of 59.05m by Sept. 11.

Blutreich, an assistant coach at Duke University, finished third at the 1996 trials, but did not go to Atlanta because she did not meet the qualifying standard.

Kim Kreiner was second Monday at 56.15 metres and Emily Carlstein third at 56.08m.Collegians Melvin Lister, Dwight

Phillips and Walter Davis made the U.S. team in the long jump at the Olympic track and field trials, but will they be good enough to extend the Americans' domination at the Sydney Games?

The United States has won every Olympic long jump competition since 1964 except for the 1980 Moscow Games boycott.

The streak of seven straight gold medals, including the last four by Carl Lewis and the world record jump by Bob Beamon in 1968, now appears in jeopardy.

Lister's best jump Monday night of 8.19 metres was the shortest winning performance at the trials since Larry Myricks' 8.15 metres in 1980. Lister, the 1999

National Collegiate Athletic Association champion from Arkansas, of course, was elated, jumping up and down and pumping his fists in the air after he landed.

"I'm the one to beat,'' Lister said, referring to the Olympics.

"I'm a good jumper waiting to happen. A person without confidence might as well stay home.''

But his excitement has to be tempered.

Since Lewis retired in 1997, U.S. long jumping has deteriorated.

Only two Americans were ranked in the top 10 last year – Erick Walder at No. 4 and Roland McGhee at No. 10, and the United States was shut out of medals at the World Championships. Walder finished sixth and McGhee seventh Monday night.

Phillips was second at 8.02 metres, and Davis finished third at 7.98 metres.

Fourth-place finisher Robert Howard was angry, claiming he was robbed of a spot on the team. He contended that his best jump of 7.95 metres was improperly measured by seven inches (18 centimetres). Howard yelled and screamed at an official for a remeasurement, but it was too late; the pit already had been raked.

"That cost me second place,'' Howard said.

As he was talking, a replay of the jump was shown.

"Look at that America, there's proof!'' he said.

Regina Jacobs, the women's 1,500 metres champion and the American record-holder at 5,000 meters won her heat in the longer race at 15:36.09, as 10,000m winner Deena Drossin finished second at 15:37.52.

Amy Rudolph, the former U.S. record-holder, took the other heat 15:37.65.

The Hauser twins - Brad and Brent - from Stanford University finished 1-2 in one heat of the men's 5,000 at 13:43.33 and 13:43.86, respectively. American record-holder Bob Kennedy finished seventh and also advanced to Friday's final.

Jason Stewart took the other heat at 13:40.36.

Tom Petranoff, one of track and field's most colourful characters, was in top form Monday.

After qualifying for Thursday's final in the men's javelin, the 42-year-old Petranoff held court and distributed his Turbo Jav, a throwing implement designed to develop correct throwing techniques.

Breaux Greer, who missed competing in the 1996 Olympics by centimetres after finishing third in the trials, led the qualifying at 78.92m, while American record-holder Tom Pukstys was fourth at 76.43m. Petranoff, the former world record-holder, finished fifth at 71.18m.

Petranoff, who competed in his first trials in 1980 and made the team that did not compete in the Moscow Games, thinks his chances of making this year's team are slim.

"For me to make this team would be exposing how vulnerable we are in this event,'' the outspoken Petranoff said.

The world record is 96.92m by Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic. Pukstys' American record is 85.75m.

"The U.S. used to be the best in the world at this event,'' Petranoff said. "And right now, frankly, we're maybe as bad as we've ever been. That has to change.''