Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

Sunday at U.S. Olympic track and field trials: Florida State's Maurice Mitchell, ex-Florida Gator Kerron Clement head to London

EUGENE, Ore. — With a runoff in the women's 100 meters still looming over the U.S. track and field trials, Wallace Spearmon kept the men's 200 controversy-free with an easy victory.

Spearmon got off to a slow start but recovered in time to win in 19.82 seconds Sunday. His victory was an expected finish to what should have been the trials' conclusion. Instead, Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh will run today to settle a third-place tie in the 100 for the final spot on the U.S. team.

Spearmon gets a chance for redemption in London after losing the 2008 bronze medal to disqualification for stepping out of his lane.

"If I didn't make the team this year, that would've been on my mind the rest of my life," he said. "I don't take my second chances lightly. I'm going to go out there and leave it all on the track.'"

Second to Spearmon and also going to London was Florida State's Maurice Mitchell, the 2011 NCAA champion. The third Olympic spot went to Isiah Young.

In the men's 400 hurdles, reigning world champion Angelo Taylor was second to Michael Tinsley for a chance to defend his gold medal. Defending silver medalist and former Gator Kerron Clement was third for the final spot on the team.

London is Taylor's fourth Olympics. "Not many people make it to their fourth Olympic team, so this is something that I really wanted to do," he said.

In the 100 runoff today, Tarmoh will step into the blocks reluctantly for the winner-take-all race. She believes the result was determined in the final June 23, the trials' third day.

"In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot. I almost feel like I was kind of robbed," Tarmoh said.

Tarmoh was originally declared the third-place finisher by less than 0.0001. But after a long review, officials declared the result a dead heat.

Because the United States can't send more than three people to the Games for any race, USA Track and Field officials scrambled to adopt a tiebreaking procedure because none was in place.

The athletes were given a choice between a runoff and a coin flip. It was up to them to choose. They didn't want to decide until after Saturday's 200 final, in which both ran. Felix won to secure a Games spot; Tarmoh was fifth.

After six rounds of 100 and 200 racing, both have fatigued legs. Felix went so far as to say if she steps into the blocks today and doesn't feel right, she'll pull out of the competition. She said she won't risk her health with London so close. "We're both not feeling our greatest," Felix said.

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