Gail Devers, the most talented yet star-crossed hurdler of her generation, failed once again in the Olympics as she was struck by injury before the
Devers, 37, who has three world championships in the 100-meter hurdles, pulled up short and screamed as she slid under the first hurdle. She sat on
the track for about two minutes, rubbing her left leg and grimacing.
Devers hurt her leg in practice a week ago and wore a heavy bandage during three rounds of the 100 meters on Friday and Saturday before being
eliminated in the semifinals. She has refused to discuss the injury in detail.
Sunday's shocking development may lead to second guessing about Devers' decision to run in the 100. She took the third U.S. spot in that event when
Torri Edwards was suspended for two years for accidentally ingesting a banned stimulant
Devers could have turned down the spot and focused on the hurdles, allowing Marion Jones to try to defend her Olympic title
Devers won hurdles world championships in 1993, 1995 and 1999, and holds the U.S. record of 12.37 seconds. She has three Olympic medals -- she won
gold in the 100 in 1992 and 1996, and was on the victorious 400-meter relay team in 1996.
But she slammed into the last hurdle while leading the 1992 Olympic final, crawling to the finish line and finishing fifth. In 1996, she missed an
Olympic medal by a hundredth of a second. In 2000, she injured her hamstring in the semifinal and pulled up after five hurdles.
Her elimination was the latest disappointment for a U.S. team that is off to a very slow start in track and field in Athens -- despite a surprise
bronze medal for Deena Kastor in the women's marathon.
Belarus' Yuliya Nesterenko ended two decades of American dominance in the women's 100 on Saturday, the same day that medal favorite Stacy Dragila
failed to make it out of pole vault qualifying.
Also, middle-distance hopeful Alan Webb was knocked out in the first round of the 1,500 and U.S. men's shot putters fell two medals short of their