US sweeps 100 meters for first time since '87

Posted: Thursday, August 07, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO, Domini-can Republic Two U.S. sprinters gave the Americans a 100-meter sweep while, next door, the U.S. men's basketball team's poor shooting sent it home without a medal from the Pan American Games.

Puerto Rico, which beat the United States in the preliminary round, did it again Wednesday night, 76-70. That gave Puerto Rico the bronze medal and left the Americans with nothing. It was the first time in 32 years the Americans did not medal at the Pan Ams.

Brazil defeated the Dominican Republic 89-62 for the gold medal.

''I think that they realize that you don't get many nights off,'' U.S. coach Tom Izzo said. ''I think they learned how passionate other countries are about basketball.''

Lauryn Williams, who considered ending her sprinting career only 24 hours earlier, won gold in the women's 100-meter dash. She ran a personal-best 11.12 seconds, and American Mickey Grimes was victorious in the men's 100 only minutes later. It marked the first time the United States swept the 100-meters in the Pan Ams since 1987 in Indianapolis.

Olympic Stadium was overcrowded for the finals and fans crashed gates trying to get in, causing security officers to use dogs to try to hold people back. Stadium capacity is 35,000.

Nearly everyone was trying to see the men's 400 hurdles with Dominican hero Felix Sanchez. Those who got in were thrilled when he ran a brilliant race to set a games record, 48.19.

American Stephen Moore made up more than 68 points by winning the 1,500 meters in the final event of the decathlon, beating Luiggy Llanos of Puerto Rico 7,809-7,704. The United States has won the event in three straight Pan Am Games. Moore, of Plainview, Texas, sustained a deep bruise in his right heel during the hurdles and also dealt with a troublesome lower back.

He hoped to top his personal record of 8,037 points, but was satisfied given the state of his body. He iced his heel 10 times Wednesday.

Moore ran a 4:41.72 to win the 1,500, then collapsed on the track. As a joke, Argentina's Enrique Aguirre got down over him and slapped his hand to the track three times as if Moore had been pinned.

''I talked to my coach and we looked at the scoring tables, so I knew I needed about 11 seconds and I was prepared to run a 4:40,'' Moore said. ''I kept peeking back every 200 meters to see where he was.''

Llanos finished last in the 1,500.

Joanna Hayes of Riverside, Calif., won the 400 hurdles in 54.77.

''I came in thinking I could win this thing and everything just seemed to fall into place,'' she said.

Williams, who will be a junior at Miami next season, overcame a poor start to pass Cuba's Virgen Benavides and U.S. teammate Angela Williams of Ontario, Calif., who earned silver for the second straight Pan Ams by finishing in 11.15.

''When I had time to think about my race I usually don't have time when I'm running I said, 'Oh my God, I lost it for myself,' because I didn't get out of the blocks the way I've been practicing,'' the 19-year-old Lauryn Williams said. ''I said 'I can't lose this.'''

She became so frustrated Tuesday after running an 11.54 in qualifying that she told coach Amy Deem ''maybe it's time to hang up my spikes.''

''I was just a little upset after the race, and you say weird things,'' she said. ''My start's been horrible all season. Once I get my start right, I'll be at 10.80 or 10.90. I'm going to be fast. But a gold is still a gold.''

Grimes crossed the line in 10.10 to edge Jamaica's Michael Frater (10.21). American Marcelle Scales earned bronze in 10.22.

''It's not Olympic gold or world championship gold, but it's my first big championship, so I'm happy,'' Grimes said. ''This is fine with me right now.''

World champion Sanchez led almost all the way as fans jumped to their feet and cheered madly through his race. He took a victory lap with the Dominican flag wrapped around him.

''I was very nervous,'' he said. ''I knew people wanted this medal. I was warming up and heard the stadium roar. I knew if I didn't do it I'd have to wait for Brazil 2007.''

Achraf Tadili became the first Canadian in 40 years to win the 800 at the Pan Am Games (1:45.08).

In softball, Leah O'Brien-Amico hit a game-winning home run as the Americans beat Canada 1-0. Jennie Finch pitched a one-hitter and struck out 10.

In women's 10-meter platform diving, reigning Olympic champion Laura Wilkinson placed fifth as the Americans failed to medal in the event. Canada took two of the top three spots, including gold by 21-year-old Emilie Heymans of Montreal.

''I was hoping for a good performance and to dive my best,'' world champion Heymans said. ''I had some little mistakes, but not big mistakes, so it was a great competition.''

Wilkinson led after the first three of nine rounds before Heymans took control. The 25-year-old Wilkinson, a former gymnast who's been on the national diving team every year since 1995, has implemented five new dives into her repertoire since last fall. So she gave herself a little break for not placing higher.

''I always want more, like any athlete,'' she said. ''But I'm definitely on the right track with these dives, and they'll be there.''

Sara Hildebrand, a 2000 Olympian from St. Paul, Minn., placed sixth. The competition was delayed 10 minutes during the eighth round because of a downpour.

Canadians Alexandre Despatie and Philippe Comtois won gold in men's 3-meter synchronized diving. The American brother team of Justin and Troy Dumais of Ventura, Calif., earned bronze.

The U.S. women routed the Dominican Republic 109-54 in basketball to close the round-robin 4-1.

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