First, Baylor junior Jeremy Wariner ran a personal best 44.00 to win the 400-meter event. Then, he and teammate Darold Williamson ran the third leg and anchor, respectively, to clinch the 4x400.
Nothing new here, except this time, instead of dominating Big 12 and NCAA events -- as they did all year -- the Baylor duo dominated the world stage at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
"It's an incredible feeling -- I ran just like I was supposed to, like Coach [Clyde] Hart wanted me to," Wariner said of his first gold event. "I didn't get the lead right away, but I worked the turn better than I have all year."
Wariner became the first sprinter in history to sweep every 400-meter title in a single year, winning the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships, the U.S. championship and the Olympic gold medal. His time ranks him eighth all-time in the event and eclipses the Baylor record of 44.21 set by world- and Olympic-record holder and two-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson.
Baylor athletes now have won the last three Olympic 400-meter titles, with Johnson taking gold in 1996 and 2000. Johnson ran a 43.18 for the world record in Seville, Spain, in 1999 and ran a 43.49 for the Olympic record in Atlanta in 1996. The United States has won the last six gold medals in the event.
In the 4x400 event run a few days later, the Baylor teammates joined Americans Otis Harris, the bronze medalist in the 400 meters, who led off with a 44.82 split, and silver medalist Derrick Brew, who came in with the fastest split of the relay at 43.28. Wariner took the stick and raced to a 43.98 split, then senior Williamson finished the victory with a 43.83. The Americans' time of 2:55.91 came just short of the Olympic record set by the United States at Barcelona in 1992 and the world record set by the United States in 1998. The U.S. Team came in almost 5 seconds ahead of the silver medalist team from Australia, at 3:00.90.
Clyde Hart, now in his 43rd year as Baylor's head track and field coach, traveled with his athletes to Olympic Stadium. "He ran a perfect race. That's what we've been working for all year, and he's earned it," Hart said of Wariner's 400 sprint.
Hart also coached Johnson, and he said, "To have a [Baylor runner] win gold three Olympics in a row, I'm not sure if that's ever been done before."
After the Games, Wariner announced he would go pro and relinquish his college eligibility. He will continue classes and training at Baylor, he said.
from Baylor Athletic Media reports