B. Williams finishes 7th in 100 final

Carver alum runs 10.36

Gatlin 1st in 9.93

June 24, 2006|By ELLIOTT DENMAN | ELLIOTT DENMAN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rumors of Bernard Williams' demise as a world-class sprinter are all wrong.

The two-time Olympian, a Carver and University of Florida alumnus, has been overshadowed this season as the world-record-equaling exploits of Justin Gatlin has dominated the headlines.

But Williams, 28, showed there's plenty of life left in the legs that carried him to a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (400-meter relay) and a silver at the 2004 Athens Games (in the 200), with a seventh-place finish in the 100-meter final at the USA Outdoor Championships last night at Carroll Stadium.

As Gatlin was running off with the national gold in 9.93 seconds - into a 1.2 meter-per-second headwind - Williams was clocking a 10.36.

He knew it was far off his career best - he ran a 9.94 in 2001. He also knew he had plenty left.

"I just messed up," he said. "My start was good, but I never got it together. I let the race slip away from me. I should have been right up there with everybody else."

Ex-Arkansas star Tyson Gay was second in 9.93, with Olympic 200-meter champion Shawn Crawford third in 10.26. Williams was just 0.10 of a second away from a podium position.

"They've invited me to join the relay squad [for September's World Cup meet in Athens], but right now I just don't know about taking it.

"I want to go to Europe now [for the lucrative Golden League season], but don't know about getting into some of those meets.

"There's a lot up in the air, but the thing I know is that I can still run with all these guys. Basically, I took all of last year off. So maybe that's part of it, too."

One decision he's already made is not to run the 200, starting today at nationals.

"Three 100s today took a little out of me. I want to get back to Europe, and I want to show people what I can still do."

James Carter, 28, Williams' running mate at the 2000 and 2004 Games and a Mervo and Hampton University alum - shows no sign of the mixed results that marked the first phase of his season.

Several injuries are behind him. He's back at the top of his game in the 400-meter hurdles.

An eased-up 48.88 semifinal performance yesterday put Carter, the 2005 world silver medalist, into today's eight-man final.

Only world gold medalist Bershawn Jackson (48.63) and Kerron Clement (48.70) were faster than Carter in the pair of semifinals.

For Tiombe Hurd of Upper Marlboro, U.S. women's record-holder in triple jump (with her 2004 performance of 47 feet, 5 inches), it was close but no gold medal.

Just an inch and a quarter separated Hurd from the U.S. crown she held in 2001 and 2004.

As Minnesota alumna Shani Marks went 45-7 for her first national title, Hurd's best was a 45-5 3/4 in the fifth of six rounds.

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