Olympic Trials Conclude With Exciting Afternoon of Finals
The final day of competition was ironically one of the first sunny days at Hayward Field in a quick afternoon full of finals.
The day began with the finals for the women’s javelin throw. Brittany Borman used a final throw of 61.51 meters to win the competition and earn her ticket to London. Kara Patterson finished second with a jump of 59.79 meters. Patterson passed on her final two jumps, the only woman to do so in the day’s final. While Kimberly Hamilton finished third with a jump of 58.04 meters, she did not achieve the A standard of 61.00 meters that she needed to get to London. Instead, the final spot on the team went to Rachel Yurkovich, who, although only jumped 56.85 meters, had the best jump among those who already had the A standard.
“I have always dreamed of being here, and coming here has been such a blessing,” said Borman. “My coaching and training has been great and because of it I was more than prepared for today. I am looking forward to going to London.”
Also in the field events was the women’s long jump final. On Brittney Reese’s final jump of the day, it appeared as if she had jumped her way into first place. After landing though, the red flag was raised to signal a foul. Reese wasn’t buying it though. She would protest the call, and after review, officials overturned the call, giving Reese the win with a 7.15 meter jump. After four fouls in a row, Chelsea Hayes locked up second place with a jump of 7.10 meters. Janay DeLoach locked up the final spot with a 7.08 meter jump.
“I never want to lose a meet,” said Reese. “I looked down at the mark and didn’t see anything so I am happy that I won the protest. But it is not about winning here, it is about going to London and that is where I’m going.”
In the day’s first final on the track, Lashinda Demus showed why she is the best in the world in the 400 meter hurdles, turning in a dominating performance to win with ease in 53.98 seconds. That time is a seasonal best for Demus, as well as the fastest American time this season. It also marks just the second time this season any woman in the world has gone under 54 seconds. Arizona’s Georganne Moline crossed the line in second in 54.33 with T’Era Brown coming in right behind Moline in 54.81 to snag the final spot on the Olympic team.
“I felt good but I am still coming back from my injury and I didn’t do as good as I wanted,” said Demus. “I started feeling fatigued after the tenth hurdle but overall I am happy with my time but I still have more work to do.”
The men’s 400 meter final provided an exciting finish that was unexpected for much of the race. Angelo Taylor was out to a commanding lead for the first 300 meters, but slowed up as he was clearing the final hurdles. Michael Tinsley took advantage, overtaking Taylor for the win in 48.33 seconds. Taylor was able to hang on for second place in 48.57 seconds. Bershawn Jackson was in line for third, but tripped and fell right at the finish line, giving Kerron Clement the final spot on the team with a third place finish in 48.89 seconds.
“It’s the worst place you can possibly finish,” said Jackson. The hurdle clipped my foot and messed me up at the end.”
In the women’s 1,500 meter final, Morgan Uceny ran a smart race, letting Treniere Moser and Brenda Martinez set the pace early on. That strategy paid off, as Moser and Martinez would ultimately fade all the way back to 11th and 12th respectively. Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson made their moves at the bell to join Uceny in the front. The trio pulled away from the rest of the pack to punch their tickets to London. Uceny was first to cross the line in 4:04.98, with Rowbury coming across second in 4:05.11, and Simpson finishing third in 4:05.17.
I was being really aware of who was around me and also in making sure I was okay,” said Uceny. “Once I saw I had the top three I went for the win. They didn’t make it easy on me, but I gave it a shot.”
The men’s 1,500 final featured a trio of former Ducks with Andrew Wheating, Matthew Centrowitz and Jordan McNamara all racing for a spot in the Olympics. As the gun sounded, McNamara jumped to the easy lead for the first lap. At the 400 meter point, William Leer took his turn at the front. Leer would lead through 800 meters, but Centrowitz, Wheating, and Leo Manzano had other ideas. Centrowitz surged forward to the lead, trying to hang on for the win as he led the field around the Bowerman Curve. Manzano took the lead on the final half lap, ultimately hanging on for the win in 3:35.75. Centrowitz took second in 3:35.84, while Wheating used his signature kick in the final 50 meters to snag the final spot on the Olympic team, finishing third in 3:36.68.
“Around 400 meters to go I realized I was in a deep hole,” said Wheating. “I tried to keep an open lane. I came off the turn, saw the finish line and just kicked as hard as I could.”
The day concluded with the men’s 200 meter final. Wallace Spearmon used a strong final 100 meters to pull away from the competition, winning with ease in 19.82 seconds. Maurice Mitchell was second to cross the line in 20.14 seconds, while Isiah Young rounded out the top three with a 20.16 second performance.
While Sunday marked the official end to the trials, there is still one final event on the track to be settled. Before the start of competition on Sunday, USATF announced that the dead heat between Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix in the 100 meter final would be resolved in a run-off. The one-on-one race will take place at 5:00 pm at Hayward Field. The race will be free to attend, but there won’t be any shuttles to the stadium.