EUGENE, Ore. -- In the final strides of his race, Andrew Wheating had already begun to process the disappointment. It was the 1,500 meters at the USA Track and Field national championships Saturday afternoon at storied Hayward Field. (Where, as a University of Oregon sophomore in 2008, he had made the U.S. Olympic team -- and rocked the Hayward house -- with a stretch-running second-place finish in the 800 meters, the most emotional race of that year's Trials).
The punishment for U.S. quarter-miler LaShawn Merritt has been set at 21 months after the two-time Olympic champ tested positive three times for Dehydroepiandrosterone, a drug contained in a product he said he took to improve his sex life. Though Merritt could be eligible to return before the London Games, since his suspension was retroactive to October 2009, an IOC rule prohibits him as a banned athlete from actually taking part in the next Olympics. Merritt won gold at the Beijing Olympics in both the 400 meters and the 4x400-meter relay. He also won golds in both events at the world championships in Berlin last summer.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- At their best, Jeremy Wariner and Sanya Richards-Ross make the very difficult look very easy. Their job is to run once around a track -- 400 meters -- faster than seven opponents. It's painful work, a mix of speed and stamina and more technical execution than you might imagine.
BERLIN -- Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt ruled their events on Friday night at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, and there should be no doubting their supremacy in their respective races. Both U.S. runners came into this year's world championships in Berlin with something to prove. Felix entered as the two-time defending world champion at 200 meters, but she settled for silver behind Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown at last summer's Olympics in Beijing. Merritt entered as the Olympic 400-meter champion who was still getting second billing before the event here because his teammate, Jeremy Wariner, the Olympic silver medalist, had won the previous two world titles and the 2004 Olympics.
He watched on Thursday night from a seat high in Section J in the old wooden grandstand on the Hayward Field backstretch, anonymously punching a stopwatch while surrounded by another sellout crowd at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Clyde Hart is 75 years old; he has been coaching track and field for more than five decades, and he is to 400-meter runners what Bill Walsh once was to quarterbacks.