Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sports

Olympic track and field trials: Florida's Tony McQuay makes 400 team; UF's Jeff Demps, ex-Seminole Walter Dix miss out in 100

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EUGENE, Ore. — The last time Justin Gatlin was at the Olympics trials — eight years ago — he was a youngster ready to become the next big thing in sprinting. He won 100-meter gold in Athens and a world title the following year. Then he fell from grace.

Gatlin tested positive for excessive testosterone in 2006, leading to a four-year ban. Now 30, back at the trials and attempting to repair his image, Gatlin won the 100 final Sunday for another Olympic trip. "Usually, I have a lot of words. I'm almost speechless," Gatlin said. "Everything just feels so surreal."

Gatlin crossed the line in 9.80 seconds, 0.06 ahead of Tyson Gay, the U.S. record holder with the surgically repaired right hip that hadn't been tested at top-end speed in more than a year.

The third Olympic spot went to Ryan Bailey. Florida's Jeff Demps was seventh. Eighth and last was former Seminole and 2008 bronze medalist Walter Dix, who pulled up in the semis with a left hamstring injury. Dix hopes to be ready for the 200 this week. "Things like this happen. I really can't say much about it," he said.

Florida State's Maurice Mitchell didn't advance out of the semis.

Defending gold medalist LaShawn Merritt won the 400 in a world-leading 44.12 seconds. Joining him on the squad are Florida three-time NCAA champion and 2011 national champion Tony McQuay, and USC's Bryshon Nellum, who in 2008 was shot in the legs three times as he left a restaurant near campus after a Halloween party.

In other finals:

• Sanya Richards-Ross tied a 28-year-old meet record in winning the 400 in 49.28.

• 2008 silver medalist and U.S. record holder Jenn Suhr won the pole vault.

• Defending discus champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton easily earned a spot.

•Texas receiver Marquise Goodwin won the long jump.

•Reese Hoffa won the shot put; 2008 silver medalist Christian Cantwell was third to get a spot.

After 24 hours of discussions, USA Track and Field came up with a way to break the tie in the women's 100 for the third spot. Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished in a dead heat in Saturday's final. The governing body had no rule to cover the situation.

Unless Felix or Tarmoh declines the spot, there will be a runoff or a coin flip. If they can't agree on a method, they'll have a runoff. If they won't name a preference, it's a coin toss.

Bobby Kersee, who coaches both, said they won't decide until after they complete in the 200. The final is Saturday. USA Track and Field wants a decision by the trials' end the next day.

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