- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SCHEDULE

Aug. 15-24

HIGHLIGHTED FINALS

Aug. 15: Men’s shot put, women’s 10,000 meters

Aug. 16: Men’s 100 meters, women’s shot put

Aug. 17: Men’s hammer throw and 10,000 meters; women’s 100 meters, triple jump and steeplechase

Aug. 18: Men’s 400 hurdles, long jump and steeplechase; women’s discus, pole vault and 800 meters

Aug. 19: Men’s high jump, discus and 1,500 meters; women’s 100 hurdles and 400 meters

Aug. 20: Men’s 200 meters; women’s 400 hurdles and hammer throw

Aug. 21: Men’s decathlon, triple jump, 400 meters and 110 hurdles; women’s javelin and 200 meters

Aug. 22: Men’s 50km walk, pole vault, 4x100 relay and decathlon; women’s long jump, 5,000 meters and 4x100 relay

Aug. 23: Men’s javelin, 800 meters, 5,000 meters and 4x400 relay; women’s high jump, 1,500 meters and 4x400 relay

Aug. 24: Men’s marathon

OUTLOOK

The United States is coming off a world championship performance last September that included a sweep of the relays (a first) and 14 golds among 26 medals, both tying the previous records. But instead of making medal projections, most of the focus, at least initially, will be on doping. But the likes of Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Bernard Lagat and Jeremy Wariner hope to put Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin and Marion Jones further in the background. Men’s coach Bubba Thornton thinks his team is “probably” the strongest ever sent to the Olympics. It should dominate the track medal count (led by Gay in the 100, Walter Dix in the 100/200 and Wariner in the 400). Legat gives the U.S. team a legitimate shot in the distance events, and the field events are highlighted by shot putter Reese Hoffa. And decathlete Bryan Clay is a medal favorite. On the women’s side, Felix (200), Sanya Richards (400) and Lolo Jones (100 hurdles) have great chances at victory.

ATHLETES TO WATCH

BERNARD LAGAT

Country: United States (Tucson, Ariz.)

Age: 33

Events: 1,500 and 5,000 meters

About Legat: Born and raised in Kenya, for which he competed in the last two Olympics (winning two medals), Lagat began competing for the United States last year. He became the first runner to win the 1,500 and 5,000 at worlds — the United States had never won gold in the 1,500, and his gold in the 5,000 was the Americans’ first medal of any kind in the event. He won both at last month’s trials. He arrived in the United States in 1996 as a recruit for Washington State.

LIU XIANG

Country: China (Shanghai)

Age: 25

Events: 110 hurdles

About Liu: The defending gold medalist in the 110 hurdles, Liu is as popular in China as six-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming. Since Athens, he set a world record in the event at 12.88 seconds in 2006 and was the world champion in 2007. A recent Internet poll found that his nation’s No. 1 Olympic dream is for him to repeat. But trouble is coming in the form of Cuba’s Dayron Robles, who broke the world record earlier this summer.

WALTER DIX

Country: United States (Coral Springs, Fla.)

Age: 22

Events: 100 and 200 meters and relays

About Dix: In 2007, he ran world-class times but opted to stay an amateur — turning down a $6 million contract - and compete at Florida State. He claimed his third NCAA 200 meter title (helping the Seminoles to a third straight national title) and then became the only U.S. man to qualify for both the 100 and 200. In the 100, he’s the underdog to Tyson Gay. In the 200, he’s the underdog to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.

- Ryan O’Halloran

ALL-TIME DOMINATION

The top five gold medal-winning countries in track and field.

United States315

Soviet Union64

Great Britain51

Finland49

East Germany38

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