Two stars sprint back to the top
After a nearly one-hour delay because of a rainstorm, Felix easily outsprinted Campbell-Brown to the line, crossing in 22.02 seconds, a time that was certainly affected by the wait and the weather conditions. Campbell-Brown crossed in 22.35 followed by
Though Felix had run less frequently this season, she still entered the race with the fastest time in the world this year -- 21.88 in Stockholm on July 31. Ferguson-McKenzie and Campbell-Brown had each been putting up swift times all season. Before the race, a graphic on the stadium jumbotron showed a tale of the tape between Campbell-Brown and Ferguson. Felix pumped her fist after she crossed the line in an unusual show of emotion. This is, after all, a preacher's daughter who teaches Sunday school during the winter, is not the type to flaunt her accomplishments. The preacher was in the stands, too.
In fact, he said, his daughter's decision to plan a more moderate race schedule helped prepare her better for Berlin. "She did a few too many things before the Olympics," Mr. Felix said. "She had media opportunities, she was in a wedding and she flew back and forth to Europe a couple of times. She had a couple of bad races before Beijing. She learned from last year that you can't do everything."
For Merritt, the race validated his Olympic triumph last summer against Wariner. Though Wariner holds a 3-2 edge in major titles, Merritt has won the last two and clearly looked like the better runner on Friday. The pair came off the last turn almost even, but Merritt simply pulled away over the final 100 meters, besting Wariner by several steps and finishing in 44.06 seconds. Even with the gap to Merritt, Wariner was comfortably in second in 44.60 followed by
After the race, Wariner showed his disappointment by walking past officials who motioned for him not to go past the finish line in the opposite direction. He eventually made his way over to Merritt to congratulate him and briefly ran part of a victory lap with his teammate as both man wrapped themselves in U.S. flags. As the defending world champ, Wariner was guaranteed a berth in the race at the worlds in addition to the three runners who qualified at the U.S. Nationals in Eugene in June. Because of that, he experimented more with 200-meter races during the season and looked like a man who was overtaxed in the final hundred. "I didn't have as much left as I'm used to," said Wariner, who ran 43.45 in winning gold two years ago at the world championships in Osaka. "It's not like it was when I could run 43s all the time. I have to get myself back to that."
The pair must now go from being rivals to being teammates, as the U.S. men try to get the baton around for the 4x400-meter relays over the weekend. That is often a dicey proposition, since death and taxes seem no more certain than at least one foul-up with a U.S. relay team at a world championship or Olympics. On Friday, the men's 4x100 relay squad was disqualified when Shawn Crawford and anchorman Darvis Patton couldn't make an exchange within the legal passing zone. Ironically, Crawford had trouble taking the baton moments earlier from Mike Rodgers and barely righted himself, saving an illegal pass. The U.S. team protested the decision, but had its protest rejected, denying fans one more chance to see