clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Devers makes history with wins in both 60s

BOSTON — Gail Devers always snaps her head forward at the finish line of her races.

That helped her make track history Saturday.

Devers won the 60-meter hurdles and 60 at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships, becoming the only American to win both events at this meet.

While it was a momentous day for Devers, it was another disappointing one for Maurice Greene, who pulled out of the 60 final with a strained right hamstring.

In the 60, Devers fought Torri Edwards down to the wire. But Devers snapped her head forward at the line, beating Edwards in a photo finish by three one-thousandths of a second.

Though both officially finished in 7.12, Devers timed 7.116 to 7.119 for Edwards.

"That's what I'm known for, that's how I finish the race no matter what," Devers said. "I've been in that position several times where we're staring up looking at the scoreboard."

Edwards and Devers did just that until a winner was finally announced.

"It was so close, I was just waiting for the results," Edwards said. "I didn't dip (at the line) like I should have."

Devers showed plenty with her 37-year-old legs. She won the 60 hurdles in 7.81 seconds, easily beating runner-up Joanna Hayes by 0.10 of a second.

The only other person to win the 60 and 60 hurdles at the U.S. Indoors was Chi Cheng of Taipei in 1970, when foreigners were allowed to compete in the meet.

Terrence Trammell unsuccessfully tried the double in 2002.

"At this point, I have to stay motivated, I have to find a reason," Devers said. "And my reason was to do something that I had never done."

Now she plans on doing both at the world championships next week in Budapest, Hungary.

Devers also won the 60 and 60 meters earlier this month at a meet in Fayetteville, Ark., despite being sick. That is when she knew doubling at the U.S. Indoors would be an option.

Though the two-time Olympic champion in the 100 is in top form, she would not commit to running in the Olympic trials in July.

"I don't even know," she said. "There's so many things I'm doing right now. I'm happy with my life."

Greene, the former 100-meter world record holder, qualified for the 60 finals earlier in the day in 6.61. But he took the cautious route in withdrawing from the final, since injuries have plagued him the last three years.

"It tightened up a little bit at the end of the race," Greene said. "I can go out there and run but it doesn't make sense to chance it now and interrupt all my training and everything else. It's nothing big. It's nothing to be concerned about. I'll jut go home, get back to work and get ready for the outdoor season."

With Greene out, Shawn Crawford won the 60 in 6.47, and John Capel was second in 6.52.

Crawford is better known to many as the man who ran against a zebra and a giraffe on the Fox television show "Man vs. Beast" — he beat the giraffe and lost to the zebra (twice).

Allen Johnson repeated as 60 hurdles champion. The 32-year-old Johnson won in 7.44, an easy victory over Duane Ross, who had the fastest times in qualifying. Ross finished in 7.59.

"I just wanted to make it to worlds and defend my title," Johnson said. "It was nothing major. I just wanted to see if I can win another world title. You never know, this might be my last one."

Hometown favorite Jen Toomey won the 800 in 2:00.02. Toomey, a former diver who emerged this season as a top contender in the middle distances, trains at the track where the indoors is being held and had plenty of support.

She also plans on running in the 1,500 Sunday, the final day of the meet.

"It's so amazing to win here," she said. "I've always dreamed of winning a national title. It's a great feeling."

In other events, Tiombe Hurd won the women's triple jump with a leap of 45 feet, 5 inches, Toby Stevenson won the pole vault in 19- 1/4, Tim Seaman won the 5,000 race walk in 19:30.59, Michael Stember won the 800 in 1:48.08, Rob Myers won the 1,500 in 3:40.80 and Shayne Culpepper won the 3,000 in 9:00.59.

There was a moment of silence for racewalker Albert Heppner, who died last week. Heppner apparently drove to one of the tallest bridges in San Diego County and jumped 450 feet to his death. His body was found in a thicket of sagebrush and manzanita at the bottom of a rocky gorge.

Runners wore a black ribbon in memory of Heppner.

"My mind-set today was somewhere else," said Seaman, who won his seventh straight U.S. title. "I have been mentally drained with everything. I didn't want to be here, but my friends and family said, 'No, you have to do it, do it for Al.'

"(The win) almost doesn't matter to me. In the overall scheme of things, it is insignificant compared to what I have had to deal with lately, and what everyone has had to deal with."

The top two finishers in each event qualify for the world championships.