Cruising into Round Two
by Devon Jeffreys
As Angelo Taylor cleared the final hurdle on Thursday during his preliminary heat in the men's 400-meter hurdles, he took a glance back behind him and was shocked at what he saw: a huge lead.
Angelo leaps the final hurdle well ahead of his competition during a win in round one at U.S. Olympic trials (AP Photo).
Angelo got off to a quick start and led the rest of the way on Thursday, breezing to win in the opening heat of the 400mH in a time of 49.53. At the conclusion of four heats, his time stood second, behind only Kerron Clement. But according to Angelo, that was of little meaning. After all, following his glance back at the field, he basically shut it down over the final 50 meters.
"It was a fairly easy run. I wanted to kind of go out and make a statement and I didn't realize that I was so far ahead," he told FloTrack. "Training has been going really well. I think this is the best I've prepared for this event since like 2000. I'm feeling good."
It shouldn't surprise that Angelo had no idea his competitors were so far in his wake. That's just the way he runs, with a singular focus on his lane and the hurdle in front of him.
"I don't really worry about anybody else. No matter what race I'm in or which round. When I practice, it's just me and the hurdles," he said. "So that's what I'm focused on, the hurdles. I just wanted to come out and run hard today. That was my plan and I did that."
Of those final 50 meters, when Angelo pulled off the gas, he said he knew at that time that he could save something for Friday's semi-finals.
"I relaxed, could see where I was and came home strong and easy," he said.
Friday's semi-final promises to be a much more competitive race for Angelo, but not only because the pool of talent remaining in the field has thinned out.
AT knows that all eight men in his heat will be pushing hard to secure a lane in Sunday's final.
"You just crank it up a little bit more," he said. "In the semi, people are going to be gunning. I'm basically going to go out there and treat it like it's a final. We have a day of rest [after]. So I just want to go out there and win my heat."
Angelo runs in the second of two heats on Friday night. The top four from each heat advance to the final. Semi-final heats for the 400-meter hurdles are scheduled to air during NBC Sports Network's coverage of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials from 6-8 p.m. EDT on Friday night. The first heat is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. EDT with Angel's heat directly following it.
- Angelo Taylor Keeping it easy into semi 2012 Eugene Olympic Team Trials (FloTrack, June 28, 2012)
- Angelo Taylor 1st Mens 400m Hurdles Heat 1 Post-Race 49.53 (RunnerSpace, June 28, 2012)