DES MOINES, Iowa — Former LSU star sprinter Kimberlyn Duncan made a splash in her professional debut, upsetting former world champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix in the 200-meter final Sunday at U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Felix took command through most of the race, but Duncan surged over the final 50 meters to finish in a wind-aided 21.80 seconds, ahead of Felix’s 21.85.
The finish earned Duncan and Felix spots on Team USA for the IAAF World Championships on Aug. 10-18 in Moscow.
Jeneba Tarmoh also earned a place on Team USA, taking third in 22.15. Former McKinley standout Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M finished fourth in 22.16.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was overjoyed. I’ll take that time, windy or not,” Duncan said. “My main thing was executing. I knew Allyson (Felix) and Jeneba (Tarmoh) were going to be on the inside beside me, so that was just the main thing, just executing the race today.”
Felix said she got a late start on training and hasn’t completely found her racing form just yet. She skipped the 100 earlier in the week to be more prepared for her signature event, the 200.
“I’m lacking a little bit of speed right now,” Felix said. “Overall, my conditioning could be a little better.”
Another LSU star, Cassandra Tate, finished fifth in the 400 hurdles in 55.45.
Other LSU athletes competing Sunday were Jeremy Hicks in the men’s long jump and Aaron Ernest in the men’s 200 semifinals. Hicks was ninth with a leap of 26 feet, ¼ inch. Ernest finished 14th in 21.26 seconds.
Tyson Gay put to rest any questions about his surgically repaired hip as he completed the 100-200 sprint double at U.S. track championships, winning the 200 meters in 19.74.
It’s the fastest time in the world this season. Gay also beat Justin Gatlin in the 100 on Friday in a season-leading time of 9.75.
“I’m pretty tired,” Gay said. “I’m just glad I’m leaving the race healthy.”
With his strong performance, Gay delivered an emphatic message to the rest of the world, and more specifically Usain Bolt: The Gay of old is back. Not the version hobbled by nagging injuries over the years, but the one who captured the 100 and 200 titles at the 2007 world championships.
“I’m just happy to be healthy,” Gay said. “It feels good, man.”
It should be quite a show when he meets up with Bolt at the world championships in Moscow this summer. Not that Gay is thinking any farther than icing down his legs after an exhausting weekend.
“I’m just focused on myself right now,” Gay said. “It’s no secret Usain Bolt is obviously the greatest of all time. He’s definitely going to be prepared.”
Gay built a lead after the curve and then fended off the hard-charging Isiah Young, who finished in 19.86. Curtis Mitchell, the training partner of Gay, was third to grab the last spot in the 200, while Wallace Spearmon, a three-time U.S. outdoor champion, wound up a disappointing fourth.
It was a busy day to finish nationals, with one final after another in rapid succession. Other winners include Alysia Montano (800), Jennifer Simpson (5,000), Duane Solomon (men’s 800), Ryan Wilson (110 hurdles), Bernard Lagat (5,000), Erik Kynard (high jump), Riley Dolezal (javelin), Evan Jager (3,000 steeplechase), Dalilah Muhammad (400 hurdles), George Kitchens (long jump), Ryan Whiting (shot put), Gia Lewis-Smallwood (discus) and Tim Seaman (20,000 race walk).
Olympic pole vault champion and indoor record holder Jenn Suhr cruised to a national title, setting up a showdown with outdoor record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia.
In Isinbayeva’s backyard, no less.
“I’m inviting as many family members that will go over to Moscow as I can to help cheer for me,” Suhr said. “I think I might be the underdog there. We’re hoping to get a big crowd over there.”