Gail Devers - U.S.A. - Successful defence of Olympic 100m title

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 27 July 1996

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      Saturday, 19 November 1966
      Seattle, U.S.A.
  • U.S.A.

Gail DEVERS - U.S.A. - Successful defence of Olympic 100m title

As the year 1996 dawned, Gail Devers, the reigning Olympic 100m champion, was looking forward to defending her title in front of a home crowd in Atlanta. She was also keen to atone for her defeat four years earlier in the 100m hurdles. The US national championships in Atlanta in June doubled that year as the US Olympic Trials. Devers retained her 100m hurdles title in a time of 12.62sec and was second behind Gwen Torrence in the 100m. The Olympic 100m final was held on 27 July, and before the event it seemed that the main competition to Devers would come from Torrence and Merlene Ottey (Jamaica) who Devers had beaten by one thousandth of a second in the 100m at the 1993 World Championships. Torrence beat the other two out of the blocks, but Devers quickly established a slight lead. Ottey closed with her characteristic late surge and she and Devers hit the tape locked together in another tight finish. The luckless Ottey again lost a major championship by an extremely narrow margin (5/1000 sec), and Devers (pictured above with her Gold medal) had successfully defended her Olympic crown. Devers was foiled again in her quest to win the Olympic 100m hurdles title finishing 4th in the final, only 0.01sec behind the bronze medallist. She did however gain another gold medal in the 4 x 100m relay final. With Devers running the second leg and Torrence the anchor, the US foursome easily won in 41.95sec. At the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Devers only qualified on the US team in the 4 x 100m relay. There she added to her gold medal tally by anchoring the US team with an incredible 9.86sec leg to an easy victory in 41.47sec. (Ron Casey)