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Former UCLA standout Jessica Cosby to return to Olympics

Cosby takes third with a throw of 232 feet 2 inches in the women's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

June 22, 2012|By Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times
  • UCLA's Jessica Cosby impressed herself during the shotput final, which she won at the Pac-10 track and field meet in 2005.
UCLA's Jessica Cosby impressed herself during the shotput final,… (Kevork Djansezian / Associated…)

EUGENE, Ore. — Former UCLA standout Jessica Cosby of Mission Hills earned a return trip to the Olympics by finishing third in the women's hammer throw Thursday in Beaverton, Ore.

Amber Campbell of Indianapolis won the first final of the U.S. Olympic trials with a best toss of 71.80 meters (235 feet 6 inches). Amanda Bingson of Las Vegas was second, also at 235-6. Cosby's top throw of 70.77 meters (232-2) was short of the Olympic standard, but she had previously reached that distance. Cosby, 30, didn't advance to the final at Beijing in 2008.

"Going through that experience, then going on to make it to world championships, I feel like I have a lot more confidence and understand the process now," Cosby said.

Kibwe Johnson of Suwanee, Ga., won the men's event at 74.97 meters (245-11), followed by Chris Cralle of College Station, Texas, (74.36/243-11) and AG Kruger of Ashland, Ohio (73.93/242-6).

Gatlin's new outlook

Justin Gatlin, the Athens 100-meter gold medalist and 2005 world champion, said his four-year doping ban changed his perspective on what had been a fast-rising and fortunate career.

"I didn't have any time to really grow as a person, as Justin Gatlin. I didn't have time to grow as a man and understand what it really is to pay bills, what it is to take on everyday life goals," he said. "Once I was away from track and field, I was able to slow down a little bit and realize that you guys out here have a life as well and life is hard and something that you really have to work for. And I think that gave me the opportunity to understand life as a whole and take that back with me as I came back to track and field."

He said he has been running consistently well in practice since being timed in 9.87 seconds in May while beating Jamaica'sAsafa Powell in Doha, Qatar.

Hold the bacon

The key word for Stephanie Brown Trafton of Galt, Calif., as she tries to repeat as Olympic discus champion isn't "focus." It's "bacon," as in what she reluctantly dropped from her diet while losing 20 pounds and 5% of her body fat. The trade-off was an American-record throw of 67.74 meters (222-3) in May.

Discus qualifying takes place Friday and the final is Sunday, so she can't yet sample Burger King's new bacon sundae. "I feel like a dancer, like I can really perform well," she said. "If I stay away from bacon the next two days, it will probably work out."

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