Huge renovations at the Madison Square Gardens. Some killer matches tonight, 7-9.55 pm tonight! If you can not be here, watch on ESPN 2 from 7-9 on Sunday night, January 29, 2012!
Thursday U.S. Open press conference excerpts
On Thursday American hurdler Dawn Harper along with Jamaican sprinters Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter answered questions regarding Saturday's U.S. Open at Madison Square Garden. Below are excerpts from the press conference. For more information on the U.S. Open please see www.usopen.usatf.org.
The 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles gold medalist will compete in the 50m hurdles at the Garden. Also scheduled to compete in the race is Kellie Wells (USA), Lolo Jones (USA), Tiffany Porter (GBR), Nia Ali (USA) and Ginnie Crawford (USA).
On Indoor competition
"It has been four years since the last time I ran indoors. My coach wanted me to focus on my start during the indoor season. We are really focusing on some things with that."
On winning a bronze medal at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships and her training group
"I was glad to come home with the bronze. We have a great training group. (Coach) Bobby Kersee is very intense at track practice. But it has been a very good group. We are going to do some good things. Coach Kersee is intense especially on those days that are going to be long."
On coming back from knee surgery
"I still do rehab for it. Once we realized (my knee) was okay, it was all mental from there. I remember warming up before the race and I just came down on it wrong. From then it has been more mental but I'm pretty much over it now."
On the pressure of defending her Olympic gold medal
"First of all I am blessed to have reigning in front of it. If I didn't have that that means I didn't win. I like the pressure that comes with it. The 100 meter hurdlers give you nothing. You know whoever finishes first went through blood, sweat and tears to win. I am very happy to be defending my title. You are an Olympic champion. Sometimes you have to take a step back and don't put so much pressure on yourself. You have to know who you are and go back to those childhood days when you enjoyed it."
On running the 50m hurdles
"It is very important for this race to see where I am at. I normally rev up after three hurdles. It's going to be good when the gun goes off."
The two-time defending Olympic gold medalist in the 200m, Campbell-Brown will race the 50m against Bianca Knight (USA), Alexandria Anderson (USA), Tehesia Harrigan (IVB), Jessica Young (USA) and Gloria Asumnu (NGR).
On the possibility on becoming the first athlete to ever win three Olympic gold medals in the 200m
"To be able to win three gold medals would be a great accomplishment for me. I am blessed to have won twice. To think I could become the first person in history to win three is special. The objective is to stay healthy."
On the start in the 50m and running indoors
"It's always a pleasure to be here. I have never run the 50 meters before. When you come to these short races you have to get a good start."
On her training
"I am smarter with my training. I don't feel a day older and I have motivation to work hard. I want to keep my "A" game."
On the difficulty of making the Jamaican Olympic team and the popularity of the sport
"It's not going to be easy. The harder it is the harder I have worked. Jamaicans love the sport. We have the biggest high school championship. Running in Jamaica is very popular. Kids are involved in track and field at a young age. I was involved at age eight or nine."
Powell, the former world record holder in the 100m and current world 4x100m record holder, and Carter, who is also a member of the current 4x100m world record, will run in the 50m Saturday against Trell Kimmons (USA), Kimmari Roach (JAM) and Justin Gatlin (USA).
On competing indoors
"It's something different. I'm going to have to get a good start."
On it possibly being his final Olympics
"It may be my last Olympic year. I definitely have to put in the extra work. I'm running indoors to work on the start and trying to execute my start properly."
On a practice race between Powell and Carter Tuesday
"We had a showdown together on Tuesday. Nesta won by default. This is the rematch on Saturday. We are excited about it. Win or lose we love running against each other."
On the popularity of track in Jamaica
"After 2008 there has been a lot of attention and the Jamaican people notice that. They love this sport. From the younger ones all the way to the old ones, like Nesta. We have a lot of support and attention and that is good for us."
On beginning a new season
"I'm going to run indoors this year. I wouldn't say that last year was unsuccessful. I was a member of 4x100m team at World Championships. My execution has been coming along a lot better and I'm looking forward to a great season."
On the popularity of the sport in Jamaica
"Sometimes I wish I was born before we were so good. Anything is possible if you come out and perform on that day. I'm looking forward to competition. I want to come out here and work on mistakes. Saturday I will need a very good start."