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U.S. women go easy in 100 meters

August 16, 2008|Philip Hersh | Special to The Times

BEIJING -- The idea that the 100 meters is a sprint became a bit of an oxymoron Saturday morning.

A slow dash is track's answer to jumbo shrimp.

Of the three U.S. women who qualified easily for the quarterfinals today, only Olympic trials winner Muna Lee wanted to feel some speed.

After all, each needed only a top-three finish in her heat to advance. (For full results, go to

"I wanted to go out and blast from the beginning, and it worked," Lee said. "I wanted to get my body used to it, to have it go into shock now, so it didn't happen later."

Lee still eased up enough that she won her heat in the pedestrian time of 11.33 seconds.

Torri Edwards, who missed the last Olympics because of a doping ban, still felt no urge to rush into this one.

"I wanted to go out there and run as slow as I possibly could," Edwards said of her heat-winning 11.26, fifth-fastest of the 85 runners in the first round. "I kind of gauged from everyone else to see if I could slow down."

Reigning Olympic silver medalist Lauryn Williams was pleased she could "walk the final 50 meters" while finishing second in her heat to France's Christine Arron with an 11.38.

"I wanted to make sure I didn't work too much," she said.

Favorite Sanya Richards moved on easily to the Sunday semifinals of the 400 meters with an easy 50.54 in today's first round.

World record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva and U.S. record holder Jenn Stuczynski each needed only one pole vault today to make Monday's 12-woman final.

Isinbayeva was the only competitor to jump at the automatic qualifying height (15 feet 1). The other 11 finalists cleared 14-9.


Hersh covers the Olympics for The Times and Chicago Tribune.

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