Disappointing Olympic 100-meter dash final for Eastern’s English Gardner

It was over before it even started.

English Gardner was last out of the blocks, her worst start in recent memory, and in a field of the world’s fastest women, she was never able to get back in the race.

A very disappointing Olympics debut for the Eastern High School graduate and two-time U.S. champion.

Gardner, ranked No. 7 in world history at 100 meters, finished seventh in the 100-meter dash Saturday night at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

She ran the fastest seventh-place time in Olympics history at 10.94, but it was well off her PR of 10.74 set in Eugene at the Olympic Trials and slower even than her 10.90 in the semifinals.

If she repeated that 10.74, she would have won the silver medal.

“Honestly, I did everything my coach told me to do,” Gardner said. “I can’t even tell you what went wrong. I woke up this morning feeling not myself, but I always feel like if you step on the line you’re ready.

“I can’t blame it on anything. I just didn’t have it today.”

 Elaine Thompson, the only woman in the world to run faster than Gardner this year, won the Olympic 100 in 10.71 and countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was third in 10.86.

Former NCAA long jump and 100 champ Tori Bowie, who Gardner edged at the Olympic Trials, brought the U.S. the silver medal, placing second in 10.83.

“Tori Bowie went out there and represented like a champ like she always does,” Gardner said.

Gardner was bidding to become the first South Jersey woman to earn an Olympic medal in track and field.

Now Pleasantville graduate Nia Ali has a chance to do that in the 100-meter hurdles on Tuesday.

But Gardner also has another chance to medal. The women’s 400-meter relay is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, and the U.S. and Jamaica are expected to battle for the gold medal, although Jamaica is the favorite.

“They’re not unbeatable,” Gardner said of the Jamaicans. “They’re running right around the same times as the Americans are running. We just have to put the race together.”

Gardner cruises 10.90, advances to 100-meter dash final at Rio Olympic Games!

English-GardnerEastern High School graduate English Gardner ran 10.90 in Saturday evening’s semifinals to advance to the final of the 100-meter dash at the Rio Olympics.

The final is later Saturday evening.

Results of the semifinals are here.

Six of the eight qualifiers ran between 10.88 and 10.90 in the semis and the two other qualifiers – the non-auto qualifiers – ran 10.94 and 10.96. So all eight qualifiers ran between 10.88 and 10.96, which should make for a crazy final.

Gardner will be in lane 7 for the final, just to the right of two-time defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Heat sheet for the final is here: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/olympic-games/the-xxxi-olympic-games-5771/results/women/100-metres/final/startlist

Gardner is seeking to become the first South Jersey woman in history to win an Olympic track medal.


Eastern’s English Gardner easily advances to Olympic 100 semis

English-GardnerEastern Regional High School graduate English Gardner, competing in her first Olympic Games, opened up her medal bid by easily winning her heat in the 100-meter dash and advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.

Gardner, the U.S. champion and No. 2 seed at 10.74, ran 11.09 and automatically advanced to the semis as one of the top two finishers in her race. The top two finishers in each of eight heats plus the next eight-fastest runners advanced to the three semifinal races.

Gardner won her heat by a whopping 2 1/2 meters over Carina Horn of Russia, who ran 11.32 and was the slowest automatic qualifier.

The semifinals and final are scheduled for Saturday in Rio, with the semis at 8 p.m. EST and the final at 9:35 p.m.

Gardner, a native of Voorhees and a former Willingboro Track Club runner, is No. 4 in U.S. history and No. 7 on the all-time IAAF world list with her 10.74 at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.96), the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion at 100 meters, was the only runner in the first round under 11 seconds.

Here are the five-fastest qualifiers:

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce [Jamaica] 10.96
Michelle-Lee Ahye [Trinidad Tobago] 11.00
Marie-Josse Ta Lo [Ivory Coast] 11.01
Desiree Henry [Great Britain] 11.08
English Gardner [USA] 11.09

South Jersey’s Hall, Gardner & Ali ready to get started in Rio Olympics

Before this year, only three South Jersey women made the U.S. Olympic track team since women were added to Olympic track in 1928.

They were long jumper Carol Lewis of Willingboro in 1980, 1984 and 1988; Erin Donohue of Haddonfield in the 1,500 in 2008; and long jumper Shana Williams of Bridgeton in 1996 and 2000.


South Jersey matched that this year, when Haddonfield graduate Marielle Hall qualified in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter run, Eastern High School’s English Gardner made it in the 100 and Pleasantville grad Nia Ali qualified in the 100-meter hurdles.

Here is the complete Olympic track and field schedule: https://media.aws.iaaf.org/competitioninfo/365d3b61-a8e6-4553-9dc8-00c317e3636c.pdf

Gardner and Hall will be in action Friday. Ali doesn’t get started until Tuesday.

Hall is one of 37 entrants in the 10,000, which is a final by time. Here is the unofficial heat sheet, from the IAAF web site: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/olympic-games/the-xxxi-olympic-games-5771/results/women/10000-metres/final/startlist#resultheader

Hall has the 12th-fastest season-best in the field at 31:37.45 from the Payton Jordan Invitational. Her race goes off at 11:10 a.m.

Gardner gets started at 10:55 a.m. in the 100 trials, and Ali will race at 10:05 a.m. on Tuesday.

Gardner’s 10.74 is second-fastest season-best in the field, behind only Jamaican national champion Elaine Thompson, who ran 10.70.