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Bolt advances in 200 meters

U.S. woman wins gold in discus

August 18, 2008

BEIJING (AP) -- Usain Bolt served up a speedy reminder Monday night that despite losing one of the Beijing Games' biggest attractions, there's still plenty to look forward to in Olympic track and field.

The Jamaican sprinter easily won his quarterfinal heat in the men's 200-meter race Monday night, jogging down the stretch to finish in 20.29 seconds and still topping defending gold medalist Shawn Crawford of the United States by 0.13 second.

Bolt, who ran a world-record 9.69 seconds to win the 100 on Saturday, is trying to become the first man to pull off the sprint double since Carl Lewis in 1984.

"I'm just going out there all the time to do my thing and show the world I'm probably the best," Bolt said.

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The Jamaican actually finished second in his opening heat earlier in the day -- proving that, yes, he can be beaten -- but the stakes rise incrementally in heat races.

His victory in the second round brought cheers to replace the tears that filled the Bird's Nest earlier in the day with the sudden departure of Chinese star Liu Xiang in the 110-meter hurdles.

Liu, the defending gold medalist, saw his Olympic hopes -- and those of an entire country that anointed him as one of its biggest Olympic stars and one of the most recognizable faces in China, period -- dashed before he ever ran a race.

He lined up for his first qualifying heat, took a few strides out of the blocks, heard a gun that signaled a false start and then tore his number off and walked dejectedly to the tunnel. A tendon in his right foot flared up a couple of days ago, leaving him unable to go.

At least for the morning, the Liu news sent everything else at this meet to the back page -- maybe a good thing for an American team off to an unexpected poor start.

The U.S. did get one welcome surprise Monday night, when Stephanie Brown Trafton gave the team its first gold medal, in the discus. Brown Trafton, who went more than 200 feet only twice coming into this season, won the gold with a throw of 212 feet, 5 inches (64.74 meters).

After capturing only one of six possible medals in the men's and women's 100 -- the Jamaicans swept the women's event -- and watching the 1,500-meter team of Bernard Lagat, Lopez Lomong and Leo Manzano all fail to advance past the semifinals, Brown Trafton's victory was a much-needed lift.

But there was more disappointment, too, for the Americans. Moments after Liu withdrew, two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell scratched from the 110 hurdles, straining his left hamstring and clearing only one hurdle before pulling up in the opening heat.

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