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U.S. team formidable, but not as strong as expected

RANDY SMITH
Guardian Sports Reporter
randy@nasguard.com

Published: May 23, 2014

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The athletes representing the great United States of America (USA) at the IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 were announced by the USA Track and Field (USATF) about a week-and-a-half ago. The 55-member team will compete this weekend over at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

The team, although formidable, is certainly not as strong as a U.S. team normally is, particularly in the sprint relays.

When you go back to the 2012 London Olympics and view the sprinters and distance runners that the United States fielded, most would be expecting a high powered roster that would be able to give the Caribbean a run for its money in the sprints, and challenge Kenya and Ethiopia in the distance events.

Missing are athletes such as Tyson Gay, who was given a reduced one-year ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Justin Gatlin, who is competing in Asia, Jenny Simpson, Nick Symmonds and Matthew Centrowitz just to name a few. Also missing is former World and Olympic Champion Allyson Felix, who still hasn’t fully recovered from a severe hamstring injury suffered at the 2013 Moscow World Championships.

In addition, none of the ladies who take part in the Nike Oregon Project are running in the world relays this weekend because their Head Coach Alberto Salazaar refuses to let them participate.

The U.S. women’s 4x1,500 meters (m) team was considered to be one of the best in the world, and was expected to be one of the top contenders for the gold medal this weekend, but with Shannon Rowbury, Treniere Moser and Mary Cain not on the roster, it is being reported that a fourth place finish would be considered an accomplishment.

In The Bahamas, many were hoping to see U.S. sprinter Gatlin, to see how a team led by him would fare against the powerful Jamaicans. Gatlin chose to compete in the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) World Challenge in Beijing, China, this weekend.

Although the team may not be the one most track and field fans in the country were expecting, there are still many talented athletes on the roster.

The men and women’s 4×400m squads are strong. They feature LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay who have both ran under 45 seconds this season, and David Verburg who has a season’s best of 45.03 seconds. The talent pool also features Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump Christian Taylor. Taylor was an accomplished quarter-miler at the University of Florida. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Champion from the University of Georgia Torrin Lawrence is also a part of the pool, as well as Clayton Parros, who was a member of the 4×400m relay pool at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.

The women’s pool features Olympic gold medalists Natasha Hastings, Sanya Richards-Ross and Dee Dee Trotter, as well as two-time World medalists Joanna Atkins, Jessica Beard and Monica Hargrove.

The last of the American athletes are expected to arrive in the capital today to get themselves prepared for the weekend.

 

 


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