Ameer Webb led the U.S. contingent at the Diamond League meet Thursday in Rome’s Olympic Stadium, winning the men’s 200-meter in 20.04 seconds.
The victory moved Webb into a tie for the Diamond Race lead in the event. After three of the seven races in the series, Webb and Panama’s Alonso Edward share the top spot with 20 points apiece. Trayvon Bromell finished seventh Thursday with an effort of 20.80 seconds.
“I enjoyed the race and the atmosphere in the stadium,” Webb said. “The time was OK for me. I was focusing on 20 seconds, but I was a bit too tight in the end.”
Webb and Justin Gatlin thrilled the fans in Olympic Stadium with a photo finish in the men’s 100-meter that was separated by the merest of margins, 0.01 seconds. Gatlin took first with a season-best time of 9.93 seconds, and he needed every bit of it to defeat Webb. Webb hit the tape with a personal best of 9.94 seconds, which was 0.05 ahead of third-place Jimmy Vicaut of France. Isiah Young finished eighth, 0.33 off the pace at 10.26 seconds. Thursday’s 100 was not part of the season-long Diamond Race.
Afterward, Gatlin reflected on the result and what it means to his preparation for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which will be held July 1-10 in Eugene, Oregon.
“I executed this race and made it to the finish line safe and sound,” Gatlin said. “I kept my composure. I need to build up for the U.S. trials. I am feeling ready for the trials. I have to make sure I stay healthy and strong.”
Americans finished second and third in the women’s 100-meter, with English Gardner taking second in 10.92 seconds behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, who won in 10.87. Barbara Pierre was third in 11.13 seconds.
Marquise Goodwin finished second in the men’s long jump with a leap of 8.19 meters, 0.22 meters behind Greg Rutherford of Great Britain. Michael Hartfield was fifth with an effort of 8.11 meters, while Jarvis Gotch was 10th at 7.48 meters. Goodwin, who holds the world’s best jump this season after soaring 8.45 meters May 14, is now in a three-way tie for third in the Diamond Race with Rutherford and Gao Xinglong of China with 10 points apiece. Rushwal Samaai of South Africa leads the series with 19 points after three events.
The next stop for the Diamond League is Saturday, June 5, at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England.