Aug. 13, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- One current University of Tennessee student-athlete and a former standout will represent the Big Orange and their respective countries at the 12th IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships Aug. 15-23 in Berlin, Germany.
Lady Vol All-American thrower Annie Alexander, a rising junior, will represent her native Trinidad & Tobago in the shot put. Former Vol NCAA indoor 60-meter hurdles and outdoor 110-meter hurdles champion Aries Merritt will run the 110 hurdles for the United States.
Alexander will compete on Sunday in the qualifying round at 4:05 a.m. Eastern Time (10:05 a.m. in Berlin), with the finals to follow at 2:20 p.m. ET.
Merritt, meanwhile, is slated to be in the blocks at 5:35 a.m. ET on Aug. 19 for the first round of the hurdles. The semifinals and finals will take place on Aug. 20 at 12:15 and 2:55 p.m. ET, respectively.
The UT record-holder in the shot, Alexander finished third at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2009, posting a season-best toss of 57 feet, two inches at the indoor meet. During the outdoor campaign, Alexander's top throw was 56-11 1/2, and she made the World Championships field by finishing second at her country's national championship meet.
The 2004 World Junior champion, Merritt ended the 2008 campaign ranked number six in the world. He punched his ticket for Berlin with his third-place finish in late June at the USA Outdoor Championships with a season-best time of 13.15 seconds. Merritt posted his personal best of 13.09 in 2007. This will be the first time Team USA has returned to Berlin for a major international championship competition since the 1936 Olympic Games, where National Track & Field Hall of Famer Jesse Owens won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.
"These World Championships are special to us for many reasons," said USATF CEO Doug Logan. "It is Team USA's chance to come back strong in the post-Olympic year, and it is an opportunity to honor the incredible legacy of the great Jesse Owens. We feel our team roster will represent the United States well on both counts."
At the most recent World Outdoor Championships in 2007 in Osaka, Japan, Team USA tied the all-time World Championships record for gold medals with 14, matching its feat from 2005, and tied the American all-time medal tally at a World Outdoor Championships with 26. In Osaka, Team USA led a medal table in which a record 46 countries won medals. When Team USA last won 26 medals at a World Outdoor Championships in 1991, just 29 countries appeared on the medal table.
Team USA has dominated the 11 previous World Outdoor Championships with its overall total of 228 medals (110 gold, 60 silver, 38 bronze). Russia is in second place on the all-time medal table with 122 medals (33 gold, 51 silver, 38 bronze).
The highly accomplished 2009 Team USA squad consists of 20 Olympic medalists, 28 World Outdoor Championships medalists and 10 American record holders.