The track fans of the world were all verklumpted when Jeremy Wariner stopped running at the Norwich Union Meeting in Sheffield. Across the world, Wariner's performance at Sheffield was described as slipping at the start, then quitting the race. The true story was just a bit different....
Jeremy Wariner won the NCAA 400 meter title in 2004, then won the U.S. Olympic Trials and less than two months later, led a sweep in the 400 meters. Coached by Clyde Hart, the man from Baylor, who seems to pop 45 second 400 meter runners out of his his program like some people have lattes, and represented by Micheal Johnson, a guy, who besides holding world records for 200 meters and 400 meters, and being coached by Clyde Hart as well, knows something about getting a few dollars out of footwear companies.
I first knew that MJ knew what he was doing when he signed Jeremy with adidas, not the folks at the swoosh (NIke). This was an important message for the industry to know that Johnson would look out for the best deal for his athletes.
Jeremy Wariner is a rock star. As the gold medalist from Athens and Helsinki, Jeremy is a huge target on the track and field global tour. He knows it. Coach Hart knows it. MJ knows it. The other athletes know it.
This season, Jeremy was running a few 400 meters, and focusing on the 200 meters, to work on Wariner's leg speed. His 400 meter speed was not that bad--he opened May, with a race in Osaka in 44.02. He then concentrated on the 200 meters, and the questions began to rise. Wariner was not winning. BUT, THAT WAS THE PLAN. Wariner was supposed to be running against Wallace Spearmon, Xavier Carter, Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt--he was going to get his butt kicked.
Some wags think that Clyde Hart, being the 400 meter coaching deity that he is, wanted to give Jeremy a little bit of humility. Not that Jeremy Wariner does the superstar thing, but getting beat keeps an athlete focused on the tack at hand.
Well, on August 5, 2007, Jeremy Wariner ran 44.05 against La Shawn Merritt at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in London. Running with Merrit until 15 meters to go, Wariner took the lead and stayed focus, which is the best training he could do as he prepares to defend himself for Osaka, Japan in three weeks.