Brown Trafton, Taylor spur sluggish American track team
BEIJING -- The world champs fizzled. The shot put locks got picked. The jumpers took a great leap backward. For three solid days, the U.S. Olympic track team laid goose eggs all over the Bird's Nest, going without a single gold medal and, in some cases, without a single qualifier for the finals in some of the country's best events.So Monday night, when the squad needed some gold, it turned to the people in the blue collars.
Monday's track & field finals• Men's 400 hurdles: U.S. men sweep
• Women's discus: American Brown Trafton golden
• Women's pole vault: Russia's Isinbayeva repeats
• 3,000 steeplechase: Kipruto extends Kenya's streak
• Men's long jump: Saladino win's Panama's first gold
• Women's 800: Jelimo leads 1-2 Kenyan finish
"He doesn't really like traveling," she said. "The only way he'd have come is if there could have been a hunting trip." The only drawback about her gold medal, which she won with her first throw of 212 feet, 5 inches, was that she'd missed the opening of hunting season back home. Brown Trafton came into the Games knowing that if she could just make the final, the medal round would be a crapshoot. Or a duck hunt. Or something. Anyway, "anything can happen." She learned that from former U.S. discus star Mac Wilkins, with whom she chats often. The 6-foot-4 former Cal Poly San Luis Obispo basketball player has no shortage of confidence. She loved Mary Lou Retton growing up and wanted to be a gymnast, but she outgrew the leotard. Now she's proud of her height and her discus thrower's build: "long and lean."
Brown Trafton put up her winning throw on her first attempt. "Nobody else stepped up," she said. So she won the first U.S. gold in the women's event since 1932.
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