INDIANAPOLIS - 2010 USA Outdoors champion David Oliver set the American record in the men’s 110m hurdles Friday night in Paris at the Samsung IAAF Diamond League Meeting Areva.
With his long and strong strides, Oliver made a quick start to lead the race in its entirety and finish in an American record time of 12.89 seconds. It was just two weeks ago at the Nike Prefontaine Classic when Oliver equaled the American record of 12.90 seconds, first posted by Dominique Arnold in 2006.
Oliver’s sizzling 12.89 was two-hundredths of a second off the two-year-old world record of 12.87, set by Dayron Robles (CUB) in Ostrava. Robles, who was originally set to compete in Paris, was sidelined for hamstring injury prevention measures.
Also bringing sparkle to the track, Jeremy Wariner made it four-for-four in Samsung Diamond League 400m races this season when he clocked a world-leading time of 44.49 seconds. The three-time World Outdoor medalist has returned strong from his knee surgery last September to run two world leading times, first at last week’s Lausanne (44.57) and then again tonight in Paris. Also in the men’s 400m, national champion Greg Nixon finished sixth in 45.81 seconds and David Neville finished 8th in 45.83 seconds.
Rivalries tested on the track and in the field
The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt found the win in the men’s 100m dash over fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell in a time of 9.84 seconds. Powell was the runner-up in 9.91. Bolt’s meet record win was Powell’s second defeat of the season after losing to American Tyson Gay in Gateshead last Saturday.
Continuing their back-and-forth battle, rivals Croatian Blanka Vlasic and American record holder Chaunte Lowe squared-off for the sixth time this season with Vlasic finding the win and setting a meeting record at 2.02m/6-7.5. Vlasic cleared 2.02m/6-7.5 on her first attempt while Lowe failed at all three attempts to make a clearance.
Also at the track, national champion Brittney Reese sealed her victory in the women’s long jump competition in her last round jump of 6.79m/22-3.5. This performance propels Reese into the top spot of the Samsung Diamond League. Also in the field, Funmi Jimoh finished seventh with a jump of 6.56m/21-6.25 and Brianna Glenn finished tenth at 6.38m/20-11.25.
Filling out a deep field in the women’s 1,500m, seven women brought sub-four minute career bests to the line. Crossing the line first, Russia’s Anna Alminova clocked a world-leading time of 3:57.65. On her heels, USA Outdoors fourth-place finisher Christin Wurth-Thomas ran a new personal best at 3:59.59 to take second. Shannon Rowbury, won bronze at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships, finished in a season’s best 4:01.30.
Americans Allyson Felix (22.14) and Shalonda Solomon (22.55) finished one and two in the women’s 200m race. Also rounding up the field were Bianca Knight finishing sixth in 22.83 and Porscha Lucas finishing seventh in 22.85.
She is arguably one of the most talented in the sport. Turns out Brittney Reese has managed to remain at the top of an event where less than inches separate the competition. This talented long jumper fills us in on her journey, dreams, and what it takes to be the best in this weeks 14 questions.
PRJ: Well first things first: How are you doing?
I’m doing well. Right now I’m in Europe doing some Diamond League meets.
PRJ: How did you get started running and jumping?
I first started running in the 7th grade but I didn’t start jumping until the 11th grade. My high school coach took the basketball team members that were already on the track team out to the track to see who could long jump the farthest for a Coca Cola.
I was already doing the 400 and thought this was my opportunity to get out of it. So I asked could I try and he said no but I kept on asking him could I try it until he finally said yes. When I jumped he was shocked and said go to it again. Once I did it again I had convinced him that the 400 wasn’t for me.
PRJ: How hard was it to leave basketball to focus on track?
Everyone knows that basketball is my first love. So leaving basketball was a tough decision for me. I talked to my mom about it and she thought that my career was in track and field. Turns out that she knew exactly what was best for me.
PRJ: What is it like being a professional athlete now?
I like being a professional athlete. Being able to travel the world is a big part of being a professional athlete in track and field. I have finally gotten used to the traveling because when I first turned pro I used to be scared to fly now I am ok and don’t mind it as much.
PRJ: Have you treated yourself to anything special since turning pro?
No I haven’t. I have been saving my money for a special something I might be able to get by my birthday or Christmas.
PRJ: You’ve had a pretty amazing run lately – winning the World Title in Berlin last year, World Indoor title in Doha this year, and winning USA Outdoor Nationals – what’s the been key?
I would say the key to my success is by staying humble. Keeping my head on straight and training hard that’s all I can do. The women’s long jump is a tough field and every championship is up for grabs. It only takes one jump.
PRJ: So are you aiming for 2012 now?
Yes I am. I missed out on getting a medal in 2008 and I plan on not letting that happening again in 2012.
PRJ: Where are you training, with whom, and why?
I train at the University of Mississippi with my coach Joe Walker Jr. The reason I train with him is because he was my college coach. He is the person that has gotten me to where I am now and without him I wouldn’t be here. I believe in him and he believes in me.
PRJ: What are your thoughts on Allen Johnson’s recent retirement?
Allen Johnson is one of the best hurdlers of all time and its sad to hear about his retirement. I think it would be great for him to help future up-and-coming athletes in the sprints and hurdles. I wish him all the best.
PRJ: When was your “break through” – because it seems like you were good in college during your sophomore year you really ratcheted it up.
I think my “break through” was the World Championships in 2009. At that meet I really proved to myself that I could compete with the best. Jumping my PB 7.10 there at a major competition was the best feeling ever.
PRJ: What were the 2008 Olympic Trials like for you and what did it feel like when you made the team?
The 2008 Olympic Trials were the first major win for me at being professional so it was real important to me. My goal was to make the team but winning it put the icing on the cake. I was just so happy that day.
PRJ: We see track athletes one year win medals and then disappear, and then maybe come back — you have been consistent, what is among your keys to consistency?
I would think the key to consistency is that I have a dream that I want to accomplish and with the grace of God I will not stop until it is accomplished. I watch film before every meet sometimes at home. I try to go out to meets with already knowing what needs to happen before it happens.
PRJ: What’s it like to be at the forefront of the conversation when people discuss long jumping on the international level?
It’s a great feeling and hopefully it can stay that way for a long time. I work hard at what I do and for people to acknowledge and appreciate it is even better.
PRJ: What have the last two or three years taught you about yourself?
What I have learned about myself these past two or three years is that I am a competitor and I love competing. I used to be scared because I knew my competitors could pull out a big jump anytime. I have now recognize that after my first World Championships in 2007 that I also can pull out those big jumps at any moment.