Former USC Track and Field Athletes capture three medals at World Championships
Aug. 22, 2005
Helsinki, Finland - Former South Carolina elite track and field athletes continued their success as they brought home two gold and one silver medal from the 2005 IAAF World Track and Field Championships held last week in Helsinki, Finland.
Leading the former Gamecocks, Tonique Williams-Darling, a 1999 graduate, maintained her place as the fastest women in the world in the 400m. Coming back from 50 meters behind, Williams-Darling, running for her native country of Bahamas, finished in 49.55 to edge the USA's Sonya Richards (49.74) on a rain soaked track. By earning the gold in both Finland and last year's Olympics in Athens, Greece, the Bahamian runner joins Marie-Jose Perec and Cathy Freeman as the only women to ever hold both titles at the same time.
Members of the USC 2002 National Championship Team, Lisa Barber and Lashinda Demus, also had impressive performances for the USA in Helsinki. Barber finished fifth in the 100m dash, while also capturing a gold medal as a member of the first place 4x100 meter relay. The USA women turned in a world best this year of 41.78 to take the title, topping the previous best of 42.16 they posted in the opening heat.
Demus ran an outstanding personal best of 53:27 in the 400m to earn a silver medal for USA.
"I went too fast," Demus said. "It was a personal best. I'm satisfied, but I'm not happy. That silver is still not gold."
Volunteer coach Allen Johnson and former Gamecock Terrance Trammell both made the final heat in the 110m hurdles. Somewhat disappointed in their finishes, the four-time World Champion Johnson took bronze, while two-time Olympic silver medalist Trammell finished fifth.
"It was a hard fought race, I just made too many mistakes," Johnson said. "I hit a couple and I got off balance. I think I was in good position to dip in for the win. But then I sat back on the 10th hurdle and that was it. I got a good start and I was happy with it. Then it went downhill from there."
Former Gamecock, Shevon Stoddart, competed in the 400m hurdles for Jamaica, but did not advance to the finals.