Former Husky Brad Walker wins fourth pole vault title | Olympic Trials
Former University of Washington athlete Brad Walker won his fourth U.S. pole vault title, clearing 18 feet, 7 1/4 inches at the Olympic Track Trials Thursday.
EUGENE, Ore. — Former University of Washington athlete Brad Walker won his fourth U.S. pole vault title, clearing 18 feet, 7 ¼ inches at the Olympic track trials Thursday night for a spot on the U.S. team for the London Games.
He'll try to break through for a medal at the Olympics this time. Walker, who lives in Mountlake Terrace, set the American record of 19-9 ¾ at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in 2008 but finished third in the Olympic Trials that year before no-heighting in Beijing.
Battle among sprinters
Looking so smooth and exerting little effort, Allyson Felix glided to an easy heat win in the 200 meters.
Minutes later, appearing just as smooth and expending just as little of energy, Jeneba Tarmoh cruised to a victory in her heat at the trials.
If controversy was weighing the sprinters down, they didn't show it on the track.
Five days ago, the training partners crossed the finish line in a tie for the third and last Olympic spot in the 100.
Now, everyone is waiting to see what they will choose to break the dead heat — a runoff, coin flip or if one of them simply gives the spot to the other.
After the race, Felix and Tarmoh might have gotten more of a workout than on the track — trying to make it through the media without saying a word.
First was Felix, who followed her coach, Bobby Kersee, through the corral and into the restricted area reserved for athletes. The only thing she muttered on her way out was a simple "after the final" comment.
Kersee, who also coaches Tarmoh, doubled back around and met up with Tarmoh, escorting her through the same circus. Tarmoh apologized on her walk, politely declining interview requests with a "No, I'm sorry."
Felix and Tarmoh have already said they won't announce any sort of decision until after the final on Saturday.
Judging by their performance on a slick track, they should each have a lane on that day.
In a thrilling finish to end the night, Galen Rupp held off Bernard Lagat in the 5,000 final, a scintillating race that came down to a sprint at the end.
Julie Culley (women's 5,000), Evan Jager (steeplechase), and Lance Brooks (discus) also won.
Felix looked stylish in her black two-piece suit with neon green trim. She looked just as stylish blasting out of the blocks and finishing in a time of 22.82 seconds. And then Tarmoh took the track. Like Felix, she took off and couldn't be caught, clocking 22.90 seconds.
The 100-meter flap seemed hardly a concern.
USA Track and Field was caught off guard by the third-place tie and had no protocol in place. The organization had to make one up in a hurry, resulting in all sorts of criticism.
The 200 has long been Felix's specialty, winning Olympic silver medals in 2004 and '08. She's said that if she doesn't get a gold in the 200, it will be a "failure."
"It's not my first games, not my second, but my third time," Felix said recently. "I've had eight years to think about being a silver medalist. This time I want to win."