Track & Field
When the USA Track & Field team left the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium, it was the winner of a total of 23 medals, which included seven gold – the most by any country at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
And as the London 2012 Olympic Games approach, Team USA has the goal in mind of an even bigger total in the medal count.
The 23 medals Team USA won in 2008 was a step back after the squad won 25 Olympic medals in 2004. The publicly stated goal is 30 medals in London, and it will take Team USA firing on all cylinders to get there.
As the 2011 World Championships approaches the team will be laced with athletes that have proven success on the world stage and intriguing story lines that should carry over to 2012.
When the final World Championships roster is announced in August, five veteran athletes who won gold in 2008 will once again be part of Team USA, including: Angelo Taylor (400 meter hurdles, 4x400 relay), Jeremy Wariner (4x400 relay), Dawn Harper (100 hurdles), Allyson Felix (4x400 relay) and Stephanie Brown Trafton (discus).
- Allyson Felix has a continued drive to become the top U.S. sprinter ever and certainly the most versatile. She became the first-ever sprinter to win U.S. titles in the 100, 200 and 400 with her 400m victory at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. A three-time world outdoor 200 champion, she will have the option to double in the 200 and 400 at the world championships. Should she be successful, 2012 becomes that much more intriguing as she looks for the elusive Olympic gold in her specialty, 200m.
- 2012 should prove to be another battle for the American sprinters with Jamaica and Usain Bolt. Walter Dix is the Olympic bronze medalist in both the 100 and 200 in 2008, and he recently won U.S. titles in both races. Tyson Gay is the fastest American in history and the second-fastest man on the planet; he was the only person to beat Usain Bolt in 2010. Gay, stricken by injuries since 2008, when healthy will help to complete another competitive sprint squad for Team USA.
- Team USA swept the medals in the men’s 400 hurdles in 2008 – Angelo Taylor (gold), Kerron Clement (silver) and Bershawn Jackson (bronze) – and would love to repeat the feat. All three continue to be at the top of the game and hope for more of the same in 2012.
- Sanya Richards-Ross is the 2009 world outdoor 400 champion and American record holder who has won five U.S. 400 titles and three world outdoor gold medals in the 4x400 relay. She is poised to improve on an already impressive resume in 2012 as she chases the elusive Olympic gold.
- It has been the big three for nearly a decade for the Americans in the men’s shot put. Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson and Reese Hoffa have combined for a total of 16 Olympic and world medals from indoor and outdoor competition. Cantwell won the gold medal at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships and the three made it a clean sweep once again at the 2011 U.S. Outdoor Championships. They will be pushed by the rest of the world but expect them to have an answer.
- A lot can happen in one year, and there will be solid competition at next summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials, but Team USA seems poised to send another world-leading squad to London. Among the individual medalists since 2008:
- Olympic or world championship gold medalists (13): Allyson Felix (200), Sanya Richards-Ross (400), LaShawn Merritt (400, twice), Kerron Clement (400 hurdles), Brittaney Reese (long jump), Dwight Phillips (long jump), Christian Cantwell (shot put), Trey Hardee (decathlon), Angelo Taylor (400 hurdles), Bryan Clay (decathlon), Dawn Harper (100 hurdles), Stephanie Brown Trafton (discus)
- Olympic or world championship silver medalists (15): Tyson Gay (100), Terrence Trammell (110 hurdles), Jeremy Wariner (400, twice), Lashinda Demus (400 hurdles), Bernard Lagat (5,000), Chelsea Johnson (pole vault), Shawn Crawford (200), David Payne (110 hurdles), Kerron Clement (400 hurdles), Christian Cantwell (shot put), Allyson Felix (200), Sheena Johnson Tosta (400 hurdles), Jenn Stuczynski (heptathlon), Hyleas Fountain (heptathlon).
- Olympic or world championship bronze medalists (12): Carmelita Jeter (100), David Payne (110 hurdles), Shannon Rowbury (1,500), Bernard Lagat (1,500), Wallace Spearmon (200), Bershawn Jackson (400 hurdles), Walter Dix (100, 200), David Neville (400m), David Oliver (110 hurdles), Sanya Richards-Ross (400), Shalane Flanagan (10,000).
- Allyson Felix: 100, 200, 400 – Los Angeles, Calif.
- Sanya Richards-Ross: 200, 400 – Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- Walter Dix: 100, 200 – Coral Springs, Fla.
- Tyson Gay: 100, 200 – Lexington, Ky.
- Jeremy Wariner: 400 – Arlington, Texas
- Bryan Clay: Decathlon – Keneohe, Hawaii
- Trey Hardee: Decathlon – Vestavia Hills, Ala.
- Ashton Eaton: Decathlon – Mountain View, Ore.
- Hyleas Fountain: Heptathlon – Harrisburg, Pa.
- Bershawn Jackson: 400 hurdles – Miami, Fla.
- Kerron Clement: 400 hurdles – LaPorte, Texas
- Angelo Taylor: 400 hurdles – Decatur, Ga.
- David Oliver: 110 hurdles – Denver, Colo.
- Adam Nelson: Shot Put – Atlanta, Ga.
- Christian Cantwell: Shot Put – Eldon, Mo.
- Reese Hoffa: Shot Put – Augusta, Ga.
- Bernard Lagat: 1,500; 5,000 – Tucson, Ariz.
- Chris Solinsky: 1,500; 5,000; 10,000 – Stevens Point, Wis.
- Kara Goucher: 1,500; 5,000; 10,000 – Duluth, Minn.
- Shalane Flannigan: 5,000; 10,000 – Marblehead, Mass.
- Carmelita Jeter: 100, 200 – Gardena, Calif.
- Marshevet Myers: 100, 200 – San Antonio, Texas
- Kellie Wells: 100 hurdles – Orlando, Fla.
- Dawn Harper: 100 hurdles – East St. Louis, Ill.
- Lolo Jones: 100 hurdles – Des Moines, Iowa
- Brittney Reese: Long Jump – Gulfport, Miss.
- Kara Patterson: Javelin – Vancouver, Wash.
- Galen Rupp: 5,000; 10,000 – Portland, Ore.
- Shannon Rowbury: 800, 1,500 – San Francisco, Calif.
- Nick Symmonds: 800 – Boise, Idaho
- Jillian Camarena-Williams: Shot Put – Woodland, Calif.
- Michelle Carter: Shot Put – Red Oak, Texas