- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Olympics 2012: Merritt injured, won’t defend title
Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) — When he’s eligible — and healthy enough — to run, it’s very hard to catch LaShawn Merritt.
Those moments, however, have come around sporadically since the American won the 400-meter gold medal in Beijing. Merritt’s latest problem, a tender left hamstring, caught up to him Saturday on the biggest stage — the London Olympics.
Looking to flip the script on a disheartening four-year period that included an embarrassing, 21-month drug suspension, the Portsmouth, Va., native pulled up halfway through his 400-meter heat and will not be around to defend his title.
“It’s very disappointing to … be dealing with an issue and not be able to finish the race,” Merritt said. “I’ll regroup.”
By now, regrouping is routine for one of track’s fastest runners.
He failed three successive drug tests between October 2009 and January 2010 for a banned substance found in a male-enhancement product. The substance has been used as a masking agent, but Merritt convinced the those judging the case that he really did buy it at a convenience store for its intended purpose. His ban was reduced in time for him to compete at world championships last year, then he won another case challenging an International Olympic Committee rule that would have kept him out of the London Games.
At worlds last year, however, he finished second behind Kirani James of Grenada because he hadn’t been back long enough to get into good competition shape.
Now this. His first loss in 2012.
It was a result of an injury he suffered last month during a tuneup race in Monaco. He has spent the time between then and now in rehabilitation, but earlier this week, coach Loren Seagrave conceded he wasn’t sure how Merritt would do once the lights went on.
Not well, as it turned out.
At the 150-meter mark, Merritt started slowing down and by the time he reached the far turn, he was done, hands on his hips, for a slow walk out of the stadium.
“I thought I could get through these rounds, not at 100 percent,” Merritt said. “I got out and got around the curve and started to feel it. I moved a little more and still felt it. I think I need more rest.”
With Merritt’s exit, the 400 meters turns into a free-for-all, with James now the favorite and a bunch of interesting possibilities beyond that. Jonathan Borlee of Belgium set a national record in qualifying at 44.43 seconds. His brother, Kevin, also had a top-six time.
“Yeah, it may be a little bit more fun to watch,” said Erison Hurtault of Dominica. “Now we’re going to see, I guess it’s someone else’s turn now.”
Could the same be true in the 4x400-meter relay, where America is trying for gold in an eighth-straight Olympics? Merritt’s status for that race, which starts Thursday, is cloudy, and that places the team’s hopes on less-sure footing.
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
- HUSAIN: Worlds grand ayatollahs rally behind Sistani
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors