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Jones and Lagat shine as U.S. trials wrap

7 July 2008

Kenyan-born Bernard Lagat sprinted to victory in the men's 1,500 meters to claim his second Olympic berth on the final day of the American trials on Sunday.

Lagat surged to the lead with 250 meters to go and used his superior speed to win the race in 3:40.37.

The world 1,500 and 5,000 meters champion had earlier won the 5,000 at his first American Olympic trials. He twice won Olympic medals for Kenya in the 1,500 meters.

Mexican-born Leonel Manzano held on to take second in 3:40.90. Lopez Lomong, born in Sudan before becoming a U.S. citizen like Lagat and Manzano, was third in 3:41.00.

"It shows that America is the place where dreams can happen," said Lagat. "The three of us are living the American dream."

The final day of the 10-day trials also produced some outstanding but often wind-assisted sprinting and hurdling and a national women's pole vault record of 4.92 meters by world indoor silver medalist Jenn Stuczynski.

Walter Dix pipped Olympic champion Shawn Crawford at the line to win the men's 200 meters by just 0.005 of a second. World champion Allyson Felix took the women's race.

The 22-year-old Dix, a collegiate champion who is already on the U.S. team for the 100 meters, overtook Crawford to win in 19.852 seconds. Crawford was timed in 19.857 in the photo finish.

"I started to cramp a little at the end, but I finished," Dix told reporters. "I'm happy."

Crawford had the lead off the curve, but the field caught up with him. Wallace Spearmon Jr. took the third spot in 19.90.


"I messed up on the straight so bad," Crawford said. "I got on the podium and got another chance to go do it in Beijing."

Injured world champion Tyson Gay watched the race on television. He was eliminated in the 200 quarterfinals on Saturday after straining a leg muscle and cannot represent the U.S. in the event. He will run the 100 meters and 4x100 meters relay in Beijing.

Felix won the women's race in a wind-assisted 21.82. She hopes to compete in the 200 and both relays at the August Olympics.

I'm so excited," said Felix, who finished ahead of Muna Lee (21.99) and Marshevet Hooker (22.20). "I still have things to work on, but this truly is amazing."

The gusty winds also produced fast hurdles times.

David Oliver beat two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell for the men's 110-meter hurdles title in a wind-assisted 12.95 seconds. Trammell and David Payne completed the U.S. team.

World indoor champion Lolo Jones was even more impressive in the women's 100-meter hurdles with a speedy 12.29 seconds that was assisted by a 3.8 meters-per-second wind. No American has ever run faster under any conditions.

Stuczynski struggled early in the pole vault, needing three attempts to clear her opening height of 4.60 meters. She would not have made the U.S. team had she missed.

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