Olympic Track & Field Update
CLEMSON -- With five days of competition in the books, track & field athletes with Clemson ties have been out in full force in the Olympic Games in Beijing. Led by 2004 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Crawford, six former student-athletes are competing this week in the 29th Olympiad. Rising senior Travis Padgett, the NCAA record-holder in the 100m dash, will also compete this week.
Crawford has made the biggest splash this week, earning qualification into Wednesday's final in the 200m dash. He started competition Monday in the preliminary round, where he easily won his heat with a time of 20.61. He also coasted through the quarterfinals, running a 20.42 and finishing second behind 100m gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica. In Tuesday's second semifinal, Crawford was second with a time of 20.12 and will be one of eight in the final (to be held 10:20 PM Beijing time). Crawford won gold in Athens in 2004 in the event with a time of 19.89 seconds.
Padgett, who placed fourth in the 100m dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials, will be part of Team USA's 4x100m relay team in the preliminary round on Thursday. The Shelby, NC native will run second leg and will be joined on the relay by Rodney Martin, Darvis Patton, and Tyson Gay. The prelims are scheduled for 8:20 PM in Beijing (8:20 AM Eastern Time), with the final held Friday at 10:10 PM.
Ato Stephens (Modibo) competed Monday in the 400m dash, where he placed fifth in his heat (45.63) and missed advancing to the semifinal round by a slight margin. Stephens, running for Trinidad & Tobago, will be part of the country's 4x400m relay pool. Alongside him in the pool will be Cowin Mills, a senior on Clemson's 2008 team. The prelims for the 4x400m relay will be held Friday at 8:10 PM in Beijing.
Dwight Thomas is another athlete with Clemson ties hoping to earn a spot in the relays. The Jamaican native is in the 4x100m relay pool, but stands a good chance to run at least the preliminary round should the country decide to rest sprinting sensation Bolt.
Itay Magidi, a two-time NCAA All-American at Clemson, competed in the 3000m steeplechase for his home country of Israel over the weekend. He crossed the finish line with a time of 9:05.02 and did not advance to the final.
Cydonie Mothersill, two-time NCAA champion at Clemson in 2001, competed in the women's 200m dash. She posted a time of 22.83 in the quarterfinal round. The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday at 9:55 PM in Beijing. Mothersill is a three-time Olympian for the Cayman Islands.
Gisele Oliveira was Clemson's lone representative in the field events. Competing for Brazil, she posted a mark of 45'3.75" (13.81m) in the triple jump. Her mark was good enough for 11th place in the second group, but was not enough to advance the former NCAA indoor champion into the finals of the event.