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Devers plans to compete in 2007

23 December 2006

American Gail Devers, the two-time Olympic women's 100-meter champion and three-time world 100-meter hurdles gold medalist, is now a coach and an athlete representative agent in addition to competing as an athlete and looking after her charitable foundation.

Devers, the fastest sprint-hurdler in history, became the agent and coach for Danielle Carruthers earlier this autumn, USA Track and Field announced last week.

Carruthers, 26, placed fourth at this year's World Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdlers with a personal best of 7.88 seconds. She was also the U.S. indoor champion for the sprint hurdles in 2004. Carruthers, who has a personal best of 12.56 for the 100-meter hurdles, lives and trains in the Atlanta area where Devers also makes her home.

"I never planned to become a coach," Devers told USATF, "but this is something I am doing by an athlete, for an athlete. How can I help their lives?"

Devers, who turned 40 on Nov. 19, last competed on Feb. 3 at the Millrose Games. She took fourth there in the 60-meter hurdles, and she continues to train with plans to race occasionally in 2007.

In addition to coaching Carruthers, Devers often jumps into the workouts herself. "Most coaches are standing with a stopwatch, but I can actually get in there and participate in it. I'm very hands-on," she said.

Devers' last major title was the 60-meter sprint gold at the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary, which was the 12th global gold of her career. At the same championships, she came close to a remarkable sprint-hurdle double with a silver medal in the 60-meter hurdles, 0.03 seconds behind Canada's Perdita Felicien, who was then the reigning outdoor champion.

Devers was a surprise winner of the 1992 Olympic 100-meter title, but crashed out of the final of the 100-meter hurdles when tripping off the last hurdle and finishing fifth. Four years later, she became only the second woman in history to retain the Olympic sprint crown but again missed out on the sprint hurdle gold when she took fourth.

She shared in the Golden League Jackpot in 2000 just a few days after a hamstring injury had ruined her fourth attempt at the Olympic 100-meter hurdles title. She had been a semifinalist in 1988. In 2004, injury also hanuted Devers' Olympic ambitions, with a DNF left next to her name in the preliminary heat results in Athens, after she pulled up with a calf injury.

In her early career, a serious thyroid disorder nearly led her to have a foot amputated, and it was a miracle that she was able to get back into competition in 1991 after two years away from the sport, to take the world 100-meter hurdles silver medal in Tokyo.

Since 1999, Devers has been busy running and promoting the Gail Devers Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers help and assistance to people in need.

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