Leonard Scott, cut by Pittsburgh Steelers, wins 60-meter sprints
MOSCOW (AP) – Leonard Scott, who failed to make the Pittsburgh Steelers three years ago, ran the fastest time this year Friday to complete a sweep of the 60-meter sprints for the United States at the World Indoor Championship.
Me’Lisa Barber also ran the fastest time of the season to win the women’s 60 ahead of teammate Lauryn Williams.
“This is how the USA does it,” Barber said.
With Reese Hoffa capturing the men’s shot put, the Americans took three of the four gold medals awarded on the opening day of the three-day championship. The only non-American winner at the Olympic Sports Complex was Lyudmila Blonska of Ukraine in the pentathlon.
Scott ran 6.50 seconds to win the gold medal after having earlier won his semifinal in the same time.
Terrence Trammell failed in his attempt to sweep an unprecedented sprint-hurdle double when he finished third in the dash in 6.54. Primarily a hurdler, Trammell was edged for the silver by Russia’s Andrey Yepishin, who finished in 6.52.
Scott revived his sprinting career after he was unable to make the final cut with the Steelers as a wide receiver. This was his first major title.
“I had to step it up a notch,” Scott said. “The start was OK. I am not going to complain since I won. It was as hard as any competition out there. Hard work pays off.
“From where I came from in football and coming back to track and field and achieve the thing that I achieved is phenomenal, awesome. When I go back and think about it, man. Three years ago, I was sitting at home on the couch not knowing my next move. I finally got back to track and look what this brought me. Wonderful.”
Trammell was the Olympic silver medalist in the 110-meter hurdles in 2000 and 2004 and runner-up at the world championships in 2003. But his only major international title was at the 2001 indoor worlds in the 60-meter hurdles.
In 2003, the American returned for his first attempt at sweeping the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles. But a hamstring injury took him out of the event in Birmingham, England.
Barber clocked 7.01 seconds to edge world 100-meter outdoor champion Williams, who was given the same time in the photo finish. Kim Gevaert of Belgium was third in 7.11.
“Everything went so fast, but I saw Lauryn, though,” Barber said. “This is very important. I never won an individual title.”
Hoffa won the shot with a season and personal best throw of 72 feet, 6 1/2 inches — the fourth longest indoor throw ever and the longest indoor throw in 17 years. He wrapped himself in an American flag while he ran a lap of honor.
Defending champion and teammate Christian Cantwell failed to make the final with a 10th-place throw of 65-3 1/2.
“I thought it was going to be good when it left my hand,” Cantwell said. “It is a shame. The burden of error is on me. It just didn’t happen today.”
Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus took the silver at 70-1 1/2, and Joachim Olsen of Denmark won the bronze at 69-5 1/4.
Blonska won the pentathlon with a personal best score of 4,685 points. Karin Ruckstuhl of the Netherlands won the silver (4,607) and Olga Levenkova of Russia the bronze (4,579).
Yelena Isinbayeva, potentially the biggest attraction of the championship, made her opening appearance in front of the home crowd in qualifying for the women’s pole vault. She cleared 14-9 and advanced to Saturday’s final. She is eying her 20th world record.