Olympic Trials Day 2 Preview

Four years ago, Hayes tore a tendon in the Olympic Trials final and called it quits. She coached, did TV work, and had a baby. Then she decided to try a comeback last November and started training again with Bobby Kersee. Her first round race yesterday was only her fifth race of the season–after not racing at all in the previous three years. “If you can make it into the final, you have a shot, no matter who the favorite is”, she says. At 35 years old, it would be the most improbable turnaround if she did make the Olympic team.

Women’s 100 meters

The Favorites

Carmelita Jeter (Nike / Gardena, CA)

Tianna Madison (Saucony / Los Angeles, CA)

Allyson Felix (Nike / Santa Clarita, CA)

In the only meeting between these three this year, Madison came out on top. Jeter has been the dominant force in US sprinting for several years, and Felix has shown a new burst of speed lately. Madison was best known as a long jumper, but those of us who saw her sprint in high school are not surprised that she has run so well since turning to sprinting this year. All three now live in southern California, but Madison is the only one who grew up in a cold weather state, and thus the potentially cool and damp Eugene conditions would bother her the least.

The Youngster: English Gardner (Oregon / Voorhees, NJ)

Gardner is the only major contender who comes from the collegiate ranks, and she’s just a sophomore. She ran very well at the NCAA Championships to turn back LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan (entered only in the 200 at the Trials). It’s hard to say whether or not she’ll have any home advantage, but the Oregon crowd will certainly be behind her.

The unknown: Jeneba Tarmoh (Nike / San Jose, CA)

Tarmoh isn’t exactly unknown, as she was an All-American at Texas A&M before leaving early to go pro last year, and was a World Junior champion four years ago. But it’s fair to say that she’s not gotten the attention that many other women sprinters have. She was not listed among NBC’s “key qualifiers” to the semifinals, despite having the second-fastest time.

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