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A new mom at 39, Devers returns to the track

3 February 2006
www.excite.com

Gail Devers Gail Devers
After her first race since the Athens Olympics, Gail Devers and her baby daughter were all smiles.

"This is where I've been," Devers said Friday night, holding 7-month-old Karsen Anise after finishing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles at the Millrose Games.

"I heard everyone say I retired," she said, as Karsen gurgled and cooed. "I told you guys, I'm only going to say the r-word one time."

Devers went to Athens seeking her first gold medal in the 100 hurdles. But, running with a bad calf, she fell before her first hurdle in the opening heat. She didn't speak publicly after the Olympics and didn't run again, which made the on-track future of the 39-year-old sprinter appear uncertain.

Devers and her husband, Mike Phillips, had been planning to have a baby for years.

She began training again in December, six months after Karsen was delivered via emergency Caesarian section. Devers started her training on low hurdles and worked up to full-height ones before she called the Millrose Games to inquire about running.

New York City is a fitting place for Devers to make her debut as a mom. She usually opens her indoor season at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, her first race back will be memorable only because it was the first one that Karsen was able to attend.

Devers, a three-time winner in the hurdles at Millrose, finished Friday in 8.13. The winner was 2004 Olympic champion Joanna Hayes, in 7.93.

"Obviously, that's the slowest I've ever run," Devers said. "But it's OK."

Devers said she wasn't sure which races she'd run in next. The next stop on the indoor track circuit, in Fayetteville, Ark., doesn't have a hurdles event, but the U.S. indoor championships in Boston does.

"I'm 39 but I'm not over the hill yet," Devers said.

Although Devers would be pushing 42 if she gets a chance in 2008 to try for an Olympic hurdles medal to go with her two sprint golds from 1992 and 1996, she won't be chasing anything she can't live without.

"The one title I didn't have was motherhood," Devers said. "Everything I've ever wanted, I have."



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"I heard everyone say I retired," she said, as Karsen gurgled and cooed. "I told you guys, I'm only going to say the r-word one time."
Devers went to Athens seeking her first gold medal in the 100 hurdles. But, running with a bad calf, she fell before her first hurdle in the opening heat. She didn't speak publicly after the Olympics and didn't run again, which made the on-track future of the 39-year-old sprinter appear uncertain." target="digg"> Digg



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