Olympians Hurdle Over Scandals And Get Back On Track
After past doping scandals, two of the fastest men in the world were redeemed in the U.S. Olympic trials held in Eugene, Oregon on June 24. In unrelated cases, U.S. runners Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt had tested positive for banned substances. Justin Gatlin was banned from competing for four years after testing positive for supplemental testosterone in 2006. LaShawn Merritt recently completed a 21-month suspension after a test revealed DHEA and pregnenolone, which are both steroid derivatives. Merritt argued that he unknowingly introduced the banned substances into his system after taking a supplement that was supposedly a penis enlarger.
Both Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt emerged from the trials with top spots on the U.S. Olympic track and field team. Gatlin won the gold medal for the men’s 100m in 2004. He was banned from competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but he seeks to get the gold again this year in London.
Merritt, however, did compete in Beijing, and he won the gold in the men’s 400m. In those games, the U.S. team swept the men’s 400m, and it looks like the feat may be repeated this year now that Merritt’s suspension has ended.
Men’s 100m Trials
Although the top runners in the U.S. have suffered from scandals and injuries, the 2012 competitors have shown that they are in top form. In addition to Justin Gatlin, eyes were also on Tyson Gay. Gatlin clocked a personal best in the 100m trials with a time of 9.80 seconds, and Gay came in just after him at 9.86 seconds. Following the two leaders was Ryan Bailey with a time of 9.93 seconds.
Gatlin, who is now 30 years old, is at the same weight as when he won the gold in 2004, and he is faster than he has ever been. Gay is one year younger, but he suffered from a hamstring injury four years ago and just recovered from hip surgery last year.
Men’s 400m Trials
The Men’s 400m trials were all about LaShawn Merritt. Merritt was out to show the world that his speed is not dependent on a supplement. While the previous scandal almost tarnished his reputation, one could say a penis enlarger definitely upped his confidence as an athlete. He finished the race at 44.12 seconds, which is the best time in the world so far this year. Finishing second was Tony McQuay at 44.49 seconds, and the third-place spot was filled by Bryshon Nellum at 44.80 seconds.
This year’s Olympics will showcase some of the world’s best athletes. It take strength and confidence to compete and those who have overcome adversity have their eyes set on the prize.
Mercedes Potter is an elite writer who is taking a speial interest in Olympic based topics in honor of the great games. To see what else she has been blogging about. follow her @CedesPotter.