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Ultra talented men's sprinters/hurdlers to compete at USA Outdoor Championships

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Date: 
06/24/2009 - 13:28

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From USATF - INDIANAPOLIS - Tyson Gay, LaShawn Merritt, Walter Dix, Jeremey Wariner, Angelo Taylor, David Payne and Terrence Trammell will headline the highly competitive men's sprints and hurdles events at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 25-28 at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

The final event of the 2009 USATF Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships will be televised on the following dates:

June 26: Live on ESPN from 8-10 p.m.June 27: Live/tape on ESPN from 7:30-9:30 p.m.June 28: Live on NBC from 4-6:00 p.m.(All Times Eastern)The USA Outdoor Championships will feature the nation's finest professional track and field athletes competing for national honors and spots on the Team USA roster for the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany. The World Championships will be held at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium, where National Track & Field Hall of Famer and American icon Jesse Owens won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.

The men's sprints and hurdles (100m, 200m, 400m, 110mH, 400mH) have always been a strong suit for Team USA in international competition, and that old axiom held true again at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where led by sweeps of the 400m and 400m hurdles, Team USA men won 11 out of the possible 15 medals in those five events.

100m

Tyson Gay enters the championships as the reigning 100m and 200m world champion, and with that designation has earned an automatic bye for both events into the World Outdoor Championships, August 15-23 in Berlin, Germany.

In Eugene, Gay plans to compete in a single, but high-intensity, first-round race to gauge his 100-meter fitness. However, he has not ruled out the possibility of running all three rounds of competition in preparation for Berlin. Regardless of how many races he runs, fans will be in for a show. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at Eugene's Hayward Field, Gay set an American record in the 100m quarterfinals (9.76) and won the final in a wind-aided time of 9.68, the fastest time ever run.

Others to watch include Walter Dix, who posted his 9.91 personal best in winning the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and 2009 USA Indoor 60m champion and two-time NAIA outdoor sprint champion Michael Rodgers, who posted the fastest time in the world this year in winning at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in a career best time of 9.94.

Olympic Trials third-place finisher and Beijing Olympic finalist Darvis "Doc" Patton, should also be in the mix, along with fourth-place Olympic Trials finisher Travis Padgett, who set his personal best and a U.S. collegiate record of 9.89 at last year's Trials. Also keep an eye on 2007 World Outdoor Championships 4x100m relay gold medalist Rodney Martin, who set his PR of 9.95 at the Eugene Olympic Trials.

200m

Although Tyson Gay will not compete in the men's 200m in Eugene, there will be plenty of talented and accomplished sprinters looking to join him on the Team USA roster for the 2009 World Outdoor Championships in that event.

Favorites to win the men's 200m include 2008 Olympic Trials runner-up, 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Crawford, 2008 NCAA Outdoor champion, reigning U.S. champion and Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix, and one of the nation's most consistent performers, two-time World Outdoor Championships medalist Wallace Spearmon, who has been top-five ranked in the world by Track & Field News each of the last four years. 2008 Olympic Trials fourth- place finisher Rodney Martin could also be a factor, along with Xavier Carter, who ended 2008 ranked #5 in the U.S. by T&FN.

400m

LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner and David Neville swept the medals at the Olympic Games in Beijing and will look to achieve the same goal at this year's World Championships in Berlin.

The reigning Olympic gold medalist who is ranked #1 in the world, LaShawn Merritt enjoyed a dream season in 2008, and he's shown no signs of letting up this year. Merritt, who posted the top 400m time in the world this outdoor season of 44.50 on May 1, posted the #2 all-time mark and a sea level world best with his winning 300m time of 31.30 seconds at the June 7 Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Merritt will be challenged by 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner, who was ranked #1 in the world from 2004-2007. A two-time defending World Outdoor 400m champion and the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, Wariner is looking to reign again as the world's top quarter-miler.

2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Neville will look to join his fellow Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist teammates in Berlin, and will strive to win his first national outdoor title. Olympic Trials finalists Calvin Smith (5th) and Lionel Larry (8th) are slated to compete in Eugene, along with two-time World Outdoor Championships and 2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Darold Williamson.

110m Hurdles

America's tradition of great men's hurdling was enhanced at the 2008 Olympic Games as the U.S. took home five of the six available medals in those events.

Olympic Games silver medalist and 2007 World Championships bronze medalist David Payne will be in the mix, along with two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell, who as the wily veteran of the group, ended the 2008 season ranked #3 globally and posted the third-fastest time in the world this season with his 13.12 clocking from his win at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York.David Oliver, who won the Olympic bronze medal in Beijing and ended last season ranked #1 in the U.S. and #2 in the world, will not be on hand to defend his 2008 national title. Oliver is suffering from a recent left calf strain and will not compete in Eugene.

Other contenders in the 110m hurdles include Anwar Moore, who has been ranked in the top five in the world the last two seasons, 2004 World Junior champion and 2008 Olympic Trials fourth-place finisher Aries Merritt, who is ranked #6 in the world and 2008 Olympic Trials fifth-place finisher Antwon Hicks, who is ranked #10 in the world.

400m Hurdles

Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson enter the Championships as the unquestioned top three men's 400m hurdlers in the world following their sweep of the Olympic medals last summer in Beijing.

Taylor won his second Olympic 400m hurdles gold medal by leading from start to finish in a personal-best time of 47.25 seconds. Taylor, who won the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medal running out of Lane 1, joined National Track & Field Hall of Famer Edwin Moses as the second man ever to win Olympic 400m hurdles gold medals eight years apart.

Clement, who entered the Beijing final as the 2007 world champion, was slightly behind Taylor coming off the final curve in Beijing and went on to the silver medal in 47.98 seconds. Clement earned his 2008 #1 world ranking by posting wins in seven of the 10 events he competed in, which included victories in Rome, Paris, London, New York, Brussels and at the World Athletics Final.

2005 world champ Bershawn Jackson, who recently beat Clement and Taylor at the June 7 Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, captured the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics with his time of 48.06, which secured an American men's 400m hurdles sweep for the fifth time in Olympic history (1904, 1920, 1956, 1960, 2008). His winning time of 48.32 in Ostrava on June 7 is the fastest 400m hurdles clocking in the world this year.

Challengers to "The Big Three" include two-time SEC champion Justin Gaymon, who finished fourth at the Olympic Trials, reigning World Junior champion and 2008 NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson, and 2008 World Junior Championships silver medalist and Olympic Trials fifth-place finisher Johnny Dutch.

For ticket information to the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com or www.tracktown.net. USATF welcomes you to purchase tickets with your Visa Card. Visa, the only credit card accepted by USATF.

For more information on the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships and the USATF Visa Championship Series, visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com.