Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Doubles Up on Sprint Titles Women Surprise by Matching Men's 1-2 Finish in 400 Meters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Doubles Up on Sprint Titles Women Surprise by Matching Men's 1-2 Finish in 400 Meters

Article excerpt

Most expected the United States to dominate the men's 400 meters, with Michael Johnson leading the way. Matching the men's 1-2 finish in the women's 400 was the big surprise.

Johnson completed an unprecedented double in the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Tuesday, leading the United States to a 1-2 finish two years after winning the 200 meters in Tokyo.

Johnson pulled away down the stretch to win in 43.65 seconds, the world's fastest time this year and third-fastest in history. Butch Reynolds, the world-record holder at 43.29, was second in 44.13.

Twenty minutes earlier, Jearl Miles and former University of Missouri star Natasha Kaiser-Brown, both semifinalists in the Olympics last year, gave the United States its first-ever 1-2 finish in the women's 400 in the World Championships.

Miles won in a season-best 49.82, and Kaiser-Brown took the silver in 50.17.

The last time an American woman medaled in the event was in 1984, when Valerie Briscoe-Hooks won Olympic gold in Los Angeles.

Marie-Jose Perec, the Olympic champion from France, skipped the 400 to run the 200. She made the semifinals in that event Tuesday.

After his victory, Johnson said: "Coming into the season, I had to make a decision about the 200 or 400.

"I decided the best would be the 400, and throughout the season, I felt very confident I made the right decision. And tonight I knew I made the right decision.

"This will definitely put me up there - if not as the best, at least as one of the best sprinters of all time with my achievements in the 200 and 400."

Johnson, who didn't compete in the Barcelona Olympics last year, is undefeated in the 400.

Going into the championships, Johnson had also set a goal for himself after finding out that no other man had won two running events in the World Championships.

"That was something I wanted to achieve," he said. "I feel really good right now having achieved that goal."

Reynolds came back this year after a drug ban that kept him out of competition for 2 1/2 years.

"Coming back after such a long layoff is hard," Reynolds said after running on the fifth anniversary of his world record. …

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