Michelle Perry, Gail Devers Pace Bruins in First Day of Olympic T & F Competition

Aug. 20, 2004

In the first full day of Olympic track & field competition at the Summer Games in Athens, Michelle Perry in the heptathlon and Gail Devers in women's 100m qualifying paced the competing Bruin athletes.

After four events in the women's heptathlon, Perry is in seventh-place (top American) with 3,721 points. Also in the heptathlon is Bruin alum Shelia Burrell. Burrell, who won the U. S. Trials, is currently in 12th place (3,666). The heptathlon leader is Sweden's Carolina Kluft (4,109) and in second-place is Great Britain's Kelly Sotherton (3,869).

Perry had three personal-bests in four events - 100mH (personal-best 12.74, 1,154), high jump (personal-best 5-7, 855), shot put (37-0.25, 614) and 200m (personal-best 22.91, 1,088). Burrell had a 13.17 (1,099) in the 100mH, 5-7 (855) in the high jump, 43-1.50 (737) in the shot put and 24.06 (975) in the 200m. The heptathlon will conclude Saturday with the long jump, javelin and 800m.

"I felt great most of the day-it was a great start," said Perry, who as a Bruin senior in 2001 placed second in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor. "I hit a PR (personal-best) in the high jump and everything was going well. I injured my groin just before the 200m. It's not something that just happened though, it's something that has been bothering me for awhile. Those things happen when you are a heptathlete, there's a lot of minor injuries involved, those things are going to happen."

Burrell is looking forward to the heptathlon second day. "Tomorrow's a second-day," said Burrell, who was a Bruin senior in 1995. "I have a pretty good second day. I'm very, very pleased with Michelle Perry. I'm pretty excited that there's a new U. S. heptathlon star coming up. Tomorrow's another day and I'm not out of it yet."

Devers, who won the women's 100m gold medal at the 1992 and '96 Games, advanced to Saturday's 100m semi-finals (the final is also on Saturday). In Friday's qualifying, she ran times of 11.29 (round one, 3rd in her heat) and 11.31 (quarterfinals, 4th in her heat), making the cut as the last of 16 qualifiers.

In other UCLA results - Seilala Sua fouled on all three of her attempts and had no mark in the women's discus and Malachi Davis, running for Great Britain in the men's 400m, did not advance to Saturday's semi-finals (he placed fifth in his opening round heat, 46.28).

For complete USA T & F Olympic results and TV listings, please see www.usatf.org.

Weekend Preview

Saturday
W 400m Hurdles (first round)- Sheena Johnson
Heptathlon (conclusion) - Shelia Burrell, Michelle Perry
M 100m (first round/quarterfinal)- Ato Boldon
W 100m (semifinal/final)-Gail Devers

Sunday
W 100m Hurdles (first round/quarterfinal)-Gail Devers, Joanna Hayes
M 100m (semifinal/final)- Ato Boldon*
W 400m Hurdles (semifinal)- Sheena Johnson*
*must advance from Saturday's races


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