June 24, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. -- There are now three former Tennessee track standouts headed to London. Justin Gatlin and DeeDee Trotter followed in Tianna Madison's footsteps from Saturday night, punching their tickets to the Olympic Games in front of a crowd of 21,809 at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on Sunday.
Gatlin, whose return from a highly-publicized suspension has gone well despite a four-year absence from the sport, capped off that comeback by becoming America's fastest man in 2012 with a career-best time of 9.80 seconds to win the 100 meters at the U.S. Trials. He'll be making his second Olympic appearance, but first since 2004, with the number-two time in the world behind Jamaica's Usain Bolt.
In his first appearance at the Games in Athens back in 2004, Gatlin won three medals for America. He took the gold in the 100m dash, aided the 4x100m relay to a silver and grabbed a bronze in the 200m dash. He is expected to start his Olympic quest in the 200m at the U.S. Trials, beginning on Friday.
In the women's 400-meter dash final, there was little mention of Trotter in the pre-race build up. But as she did so many times as a Lady Vol, Trotter made a strong finish over the final 150 meters and qualified for her third Olympic Games by taking second behind victor Sanya Richards-Ross in 50.02.
The fifth-place Olympic finisher in the 400m in 2004 and a gold medalist with the 4x400m relay that year, Trotter only ran the 400 in 2008, advancing to the semifinal round after overcoming injuries to make it to the Games. She wasn't on the 4x4 team that season, but she should be a key component of that relay again in 2012.
Monday's action at the U.S. Olympic Trials includes former Lady Vol Phoebe Wright trying to make the Olympic Team in the 800 meters with a final at 9:50 p.m. Eastern time and her former UT teammate Jackie Areson competing in the qualifying round of the 5000m at 6:30 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will televise action from Eugene on Monday from 9-11 p.m. ET.
While the U.S. Trials were going on in Oregon, two current Tennessee products were in action over the weekend in their native Trinidad & Tobago at the NAAA Sagicor NGC Championships in Port-of-Spain.
Lady Vol senior Annie Alexander picked up her eighth career national title in the discus throw Saturday night, uncorking a toss of 185-6 to net first-place honors at Hasely Crawford Stadium. She followed that up on Sunday by taking second in the shot put at 55-1. Unfortunately for Alexander, though, she has not met the Olympic "A" qualifying standard, so she will not be going to London.
In the men's sprints, Vol freshman Jamol James had his best meet of the season. After running a then-season-best 10.33 in the preliminary round, the Big Orange speedster lowered his personal record to 10.17 to place sixth in the final. That mark ties him for 10th on the UT all-time performers list in that event.
While James didn't make the Olympics in the 100 meters, it appears he'll have an opportunity to be among the 4x100m relay pool for Trinidad & Tobago. That status will be determined in the coming weeks.
Justin Gatlin, first place
On his race preparation...
"I knew I had to get out of the blocks, keep the middle flawless, bring it home precisely and have the technique coming through the line...I have a lot left in the tank."
On the road this season and to this point...
"This season so far has been undefeated and just trying to ride that wave...I have a son now and he knows what daddy does. When I bring him to the track he empowers me"
On preparing for the competition of the Olympics...
"If he [Usain Bolt] is in lane four doing a tap dance, I'm in lane three doing my thing...I'm my own person. I can't mimic that. I'm me."
On the Olympic crowd...
"I accept them and let the crowd empower me. We are not only runners; we are performers and I want to put on a good show."
Dee Dee Trotter, second place
On the race...
"The race was amazing; it was very fast through 300 yards."
"I wanted to have a solid start and stay ahead. When Francena [McCorory] flew by me, I didn't know what I was doing. I just wanted to have a good, strong finish down the home stretch."
On making the team...
"Making the team has been my only focus this year. I've been training for this all year long. This accomplishment today is a godsend; it's really a blessing. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to work for."
On the glitter on her face...
"It's my glitter face, my war paint. It's been my motivation to keep me running well. It's been no secret I haven't been running well; it gives me a little extra strength."
Sun., June 24
400m Final: 2. DeeDee Trotter *, 50.02
Sat., June 23
100m Final: 2. Tianna Madison*, 10.96
100m Semifinal: Adv. Tianna Madison*, 10.96p (w: 1.4)/1st, ht. 3 (1st)
800m Semifinal: Adv.. Phoebe Wright*, 2:00.88p/3rd, ht. 1 (5th)
400m Semifinal: Adv. DeeDee Trotter*, 51.23p/2nd, ht. 1 (4th)
Fri., June 22
10,000m Final: 16. Liz Costello, 32:53.31
100m First Round: Adv. Tianna Madison, 11.10p (w: 0.5)/1st, ht. 1 (1st)
400m First Round: Adv. DeeDee Trotter, 51.64p/1st, ht. 4 (2nd)
800m First Round: Adv. Phoebe Wright, 2:00.83p/2nd, ht. 3 (2nd); DNA - Chanelle Price, 2:04.17p/4th, ht. 4 (19th); DNA - Erica oore, 2:04.44p/5th, ht. 4 (21st)
Sun., June 24
Sat., June 23
Decathlon (Final Day): 5. Chris Helwick*, 7,744 (14. 110mH, 15.30 (w: 0.8), 814 pts.; 5. Discus Throw, 143-1/43.61m, 738 pts.; 5. 16-0.75/4.90m, 880 pts.; 1. Javelin Throw, 224-3/68.37m, 865 pts.; 5. 1500m, 4:33.85, 720 pts.)
100m First Round: Adv., Justin Gatlin*, 9.90p (w: 1.7)/1st, ht. 5 (1st)
Fri., June 22
Decathlon (First Day): 13. Chris Helwick, 3,727 pts. (18. 100m, 11.49 (w: -0.2), 755 pts; 14. long jump, 22-3/6.78m w: (-0.6), 762 pts.; 4. shot put, 46-9/14.25m, 744 pts.; 8. high jump, 6-4/1.93m; 740 pts.; 17. 400m, 51.97, 726 pts.)
Thurs., June 21
Hammer Throw Final: 7. Garland Porter*, 232-11/71.01m
* - Former UT student-athlete, ! - personal record, Adv. - Advanced to next round, DNA - did not advance, DNF - did not finish, DNS - did not start, DQ - disqualified, F- foul, fr - facility record, FS - false start, h - heat, m - meters, mr - meet record, NM - no mark registered, NH - no height registered, p - preliminary round, sr - school record, utfr - UT freshman record, w - wind-aided