By Dick Patrick
June 29, 2012
The decision was easy though not pleasant for Wallace Spearmon to abort racing last season after he was eliminated in the opening round of the 200 at the U.S. Championships. If you have trouble walking, you can’t sprint. Spearmon was in near constant pain from a left Achilles injury.
“It was at the point when I literally didn’t want to talk when I woke up in the morning,” he said. “I didn’t want to stick my feet out of bed. I didn’t want to touch the ground.”
After traveling around the world in search for a cure to the tendinitis-like injury, Spearmon found a solution not far from USA Track & Field headquarters in Indianapolis.
Spearmon took advantage of a recent partnership between USATF and St. Vincent Sports Performance. The resident of Dallas has spent about four of the last 12 months in Indy to return to health and to form as a favorite in the 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials.
Starting last fall, Spearmon received treatment that included platelet rich plasma injection to speed healing. He underwent functional movement screens that detected some muscular imbalances in his lower legs and tight hips. Between rehab therapy in Indy and in a room at home that he has converted to a training area, he has worked on strengthening the weak areas and increasing the flexibility of tight areas.
Spearmon is unbeaten this season, has the fourth best time in the world (19.95) and had the fastest time Friday in the first round of the 200 (20.17), which has the semis Saturday and the final on Sunday.
“We ran faster than I wanted to,” Spearmon said. “I didn’t want to run that hard in the first round, but you have to do what you can to make the team.”
Spearmon desperately wants to make the team to atone for 2008, when he apparently finished third in the 200 only to be disqualified after the race for stepping on the lane marker.
“I’m ready to get this out of the way and get back to redemption,” he said.
And how’s the Achilles doing? “Some days are good days, some days are bad days,” he said. “Some days I’ll walk around and won’t feel it all day. Some days I’ll have go get treatment because something is not feeling right.”
Women’s Deuce: The stat of the day was that training partners Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, who tied for third in the 100 and have yet to determine a tiebreaking resolution, had the same time in the 200. Thankfully they were in different semifinal heats. Both won in 22.30 to advance to Saturdahy’s final.
The procedure to beak their dead heat in the 100 is expected to be announced after the 200 final.
Sanya Richards-Ross, the 400 champion, had the fastest semi time, 22.15. “I was pleased to see that time,” Richards-Ross said. “Hopefully (Saturday) I’ll go even faster and put together another great race to win it.”
End of the road? Terrence Trammell finished fifth (13.86) in his first-round heat of the 110 hurdles, failing to advance. The last time Trammell, 33, entered a U.S. Championships and failed to reach the final was in 1998.
Trammell is a two-time U.S. champ (2004, 2007), a two time Olympic silver medalist (2000, 2004) and a three-time world championships silver medalist (2003, 2007, 2009).
Hellacious finals: Both the men’s and women’s 1,500 finals Sunday could be suspenseful though each race contains a medalist from last year’s world championships.
Gold medalist Jenny Simpson finished second (4:09.12) to world No.1 Morgan Uceny (4:08.90) in a their semifinal to advance. “Just stuck on Morgan,” Simpson said. “Just wanted to be as effortless and smooth as possible.”
The final also includes Shannon Rowbury, third at the ’09 worlds.
Matt Centrowtiz, a bronze medalist at the ’11 worlds, won his heat in 3:41.90, edging Leonel Manzano, who had the same time. All the major contenders advanced, including Andrew Wheating, who had to make a late move to make up ground.
“Everyone swooped past me in the last half lap, and then I was like, ‘I need to make moves,'” said Wheating, who was second (3:51.40) in the slow first semifinal.