Gardner gets out to blazing start in Olympic Trials 100-meter dash trials!!!

e4fb166e-0346-42cd-ae3f-cc9bae533737-1English Gardner was just running to advance. She wound up running really fast.

Gardner, a native of Voorhees and graduate of Eastern Regional High School, opened her bid to make her first U.S. Olympic team in style Saturday with the fastest 100-meter dash time in the qualifying rounds in 28 years.

Gardner won the first of five heats in 10.90, the fastest wind-legal time in the first round at the Trials since 1988, when three women ran faster – Florence Griffith-Joyner and her dubious and asterisked 10.49, Sheila Echols and her clean 10.83 and admitted steroid user Diane Williams, who ran 10.88.

Running just to qualify, Gardner ran within 11-100ths of a second of her PR of 10.79, which is No. 15 in world history and No. 7 among athletes with no history of or direct connection to positive drug tests.

“You get out there and have a set plan and then you execute that plan, then turn to look at the clock and I said, ‘Oh, I might need to slow down,'” Gardner said. “Things have been going for well for me in training, spiritually, mentally, physically. I’m so fit right now.”

Gardner technically wasn’t the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s semis. Jenna Prandini ran 10.81, but that was with an assisting wind of 3.6 meters per second.  Her wind-legal PR is 10.90.

The semifinals are scheduled for 4:02 p.m. Sunday, with the finals following at 5:44 p.m. at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Gardner’s 10.90 came with a legal wind of 1.8 meters per second. Next-fastest qualifier was Tori Bowie, who ran 10.91 in the fifth heat. Bowie and Gardner rank No. 3 and 4 in the world this year – and 1 and 2 among Americans – at 10.80 for Bowie and 10.81 for Gardner. The 10.80 equalled her two-year-old PR from Monaco in 2014. Gardner ran her PR of 10.79 in Eugene in 2014.

“When we get to the final,” Gardner said, “hopefully Tori and I can can give you the best show of your life.”

Gardner will be in lane 3 in the third of three semifinal races. The top two finishers in each of three races, plus the next-two fastest times, will advance to the eight-woman final.

Everybody who has ever run 10.92 or faster in a final has made the Olympic team. Gardner placed seventh in the 100 final in the 2012 Trials after her sophomore year at Oregon.

Start lists for the semis and all of Sunday’s events are here.

I put together a list of all the sub-11 wind-legal times in U.S. Olympic Trials history. Gardner is already the No. 9 performer on a list that unfortunately has to include several drug cheats, since these marks came outside the period they are known to have tested positive.

Interesting to note that five of the 10-fastest wind-legal qualifying times in meet history came this year, with four others in 1988 and one in 1996.

10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [q]
10.61 … Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [1]
10.70 … Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [s]
10.78 Torri Edwards, 2008 [s]
10.81 Evelyn Ashford, 1988 [2]
10.82 Gwen Torrence, 1996 [1]
10.83 Sheila Echols, 1988 [q]
10.85 … Ashford, 1988 [s]
10.85 Muna Lee, 2008 [1]
10.88 Diane Williams, 1988 [q]
10.88 Marion Jones, 2000 [1]
10.90 … Edwards, 2008 [2]
10.90 Lauryn Williams, 2008 [3]
10.90 English Gardner, 2016 [q]
10.91 … Torrence, 1988 [3]
10.91 Gail Devers, 1996 [2]
10.91 Torie Bowe, 2016 [q]
10.92 Alice Brown, 1988 [q]
10.92 D’Andre Hill, 1996 [3]
10.92 Carmelita Jeter, 2012 [1]
10.93 Marshevet Hooker, 2008 [4]
10.96 Chryste Gaines, 1996 [q]
10.96 Inger Miller, 1996 [4]
10.96 Allyson Felix, 2008 [5]
10.96 Tianna Madison, 2012 [2]
10.96 … Madison, 2012 [s]
10.97 … Jeter, 2008 [s]
10.97 Michelle Lewis, 2008 [s]
10.97 Latasha Colander, 2004 [1]
10.99 Morolake Akinosun, 2016 [q]
10.99 Joanna Atkins, 2016 [q]
10.99 Alex Atkinson, 2016 [q]

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