Williams Finishes Second in Women's 100
Monday, August 27, 2007; 12:30 PM
OSAKA, Japan, Aug. 27 -- It's been a rough summer for U.S. sprinter Lauryn Williams, who has battled injuries and slow times and did not look even close to ready to defend her 100-meter title at the 11th IAAF world track and field championships.
Williams, however, has become a master of coming up with her biggest performances in the biggest events. Monday, she produced one of her most surprising successes yet.
Three years after winning the silver medal in her first Olympics and two years after claiming a gold medal in her first world championships, Williams won the silver medal in a 100 final that was so close it took more than five minutes for race officials to declare a winner. That honor went to Jamaica's Veronica Campbell, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist, who crossed the line in 11.01 seconds.
"I put my heart out there," Williams said. "I'm not at all upset at what I did."
Williams, also credited with a finish in 11.01, produced her best time of a season in which she has been hampered by hamstring problems and hadn't once broken 11 seconds. U.S. teammate Carmelita Jeter won the bronze in 11.02, and Torri Edwards, the U.S. champion who was considered a favorite for the gold, finished fourth in 11.05.
The race's finish was clouded by confusion. Strangely, the scoreboard at first credited Edwards with the victory, but her name quickly was removed.
As race officials reviewed the results, which were almost impossible to dissect even with slow-motion replays, the runners milled nervously around the track, looking to the giant scoreboard at Nagai Stadium for news.
"I wasn't sure exactly what happened," Williams said. "Looking at the replay, I couldn't decide for myself. I was really hoping my name would be up there" for the gold.
Instead, Campbell got to throw her arms in the air with joy, taking a belated -- but no less exuberant -- victory lap as Williams and Edwards bowed their heads and filed toward the interview room. Campbell is a training mate of U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay, who won the men's 100 gold Sunday, and both have managed extraordinary success without the day-to-day oversight of their coach, Lance Brauman. Brauman is imprisoned in Texas on fraud charges but still provides his athletes with training programs.
Edwards looked gravely disappointed, having put together one of the best seasons of her career two years after returning from a drug suspension over what had been ruled inadvertent use of a stimulant.
Edwards, who ran a 10.90 earlier this year and topped Williams at the U.S. championships, was at a loss to explain the result.
"Toward the end I kind of faded," Edwards said. "Unfortunately, I didn't get the win . . . I'll have to go out and look at the race and see what happened."