Aug. 11, 2005
UCLA great Michelle Perry won the gold medal and her Bruin teammate Joanna Hayes was disqualified in the 100m hurdles on Thursday in cold and windy weather conditions at the 2005 World Track & Field Championships held in Helsinki, Finland.
A U. S. Olympic heptathlete in 2004, Perry made the switch to the 100m hurdles and has been the best in the world all season, culminating with her gold medal winning performance on Thursday.
Perry was smooth over the hurdles throughout and won the gold medal decisively in 12.66 seconds. Jamaica's Delloreen Ennis-London was the runner-up in 12.76 seconds, with her countrywoman Brigitte Foster-Hylton winning the bronze medal, also in 12.76 seconds.
She entered the Championships owning four of the top five times in the world this season. Perry posted the fastest time globally this year of 12.43 seconds in winning the USA Outdoor title in June. She is the first American woman to win 100m hurdles world championships gold since Anjanette Kirkland in 2001. UCLA great Gail Devers won the event for Team USA in 1993, 1995 and 1999.
"I could feel everybody," Perry said. "I knew I had to charge home. I'm happy that I just finished clean and strong. I enjoy the heptathlon. At first, it was an adjustment for me. I'm not completely developed in all the events. I believe I can do both."
Hayes, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the event, hit the ninth hurdle hard, before running directly into the final hurdle. She kept on her feet to finish the race in 13.57 seconds.
"It was not meant for me to be the world champion," said Hayes. "If I was going to get beat, I was going to beat on the ground, and that's what happened - I got beat on the ground. I'm either the world champion, or I'm nothing, and I'm nothing. This will be all over, and I will move on."
The final in the women's pole vault will include UCLA alumnae Tracy O'Hara. Rescheduled from Thursday, due to weather, Russian world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva is the favorite to win the Gold. O'Hara has set her personal best (4.60/15-1) in 2005, is at her first Worlds, and she has the No. 4 mark on the current World list. American teammate Jillian Schwartz is a 2004 Olympian who placed fourth at the 2004 World Indoor Championships.
Bruin senior Monique Henderson, who on Wednesday placed seventh in the 400m, is a member the U. S. 4 X 400m relay pool (semis on Saturday/final on Sunday, the last day of competition). At the 2004 Olympics, with her current American teammates Sanya Richards and Dee Dee Trotter, Henderson ran on the Gold Medal winning U. S. 4 X 400m relay. In Wednesday's 400m final, Richards placed second and Trotter was fifth.