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LaShawn Merritt

LaShawn Merritt
Merritt at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Personal information
Nationality American
Born

(1986-06-27) June 27, 1986


Portsmouth, Virginia, U. S.
Residence Suffolk, Virginia, U. S.
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 182 lb (83 kg)
Sport
Sport Track and field
Event(s) 200 metres, 400 metres
College team East Carolina Pirates
Coached by Dwayne Miller

LaShawn Merritt (born June 27, 1986) is an American track and field athlete who competes in sprinting events, specializing in the 400 meters. He is a former Olympic champion over the distance and his personal best of 43.65 seconds makes him the sixth fastest of all time.

He was a successful junior athlete and won the 400 m gold at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Athletics, as well as setting two world junior records in the relays. He became part of the American 4×400 meter relay team and helped win the event at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships. He established himself individually in 2007 by winning a silver medal in the 400  m at the 2007 World Championships.

He came out on top of a rivalry with Jeremy Wariner in 2008 by winning in the 2008 Olympic final in a personal best time, and by a record margin of 0.99 secs. He also broke the Olympic record in the relay with the American team, recording the second fastest time ever. Merritt established himself as the World Champion with a win at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in the 400 m and the 4×400 m relay. In October 2010, he was suspended for 21 months for failing a drug test.

Biography

Merritt is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. LaShawn spent one year as a college athlete at East Carolina University, signing an endorsement contract with Nike during his first season of indoor track, making him no longer eligible to compete in an NCAA event. He then transferred to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is currently enrolled at Norfolk State University in Business Administration Norfolk, Virginia.[1]

Early career

Merritt came to prominence as a junior athlete at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He took the gold medal in the 400 meters race, and set two junior world records as part of the American 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay teams.[2] He took part in the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, his first major senior championship, and acted as the relay substitute for the men's 4×400  m. He helped the team win their heat and was substituted for Jeremy Wariner for the final, where the American team won the gold medal.[3]

He broke into the senior ranks in 2006, and was selected for the 4×400  m relay team for the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Along with Tyree Washington, Milton Campbell and Wallace Spearmon, he won the World Indoor title in the event. Outdoors, he improved his best to 44.14  seconds for a bronze medal at the 2006 IAAF World Athletics Final and was selected to represent the United States at the 2006 IAAF World Cup, at which he won the 400  m competition.

Prior to the 400  m final at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Merritt stated his intent to beat all-comers. He achieved his first sub-44  second run, finishing in 43.96, and beat 2000 Olympic champion Angelo Taylor to the line. However, this was not enough to beat the reigning World and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner, who was half a second ahead. Nevertheless, the silver medal was Merritt's first at a global championships over the 400  m.[4] He again formed part of the United States' 4×400 meter relay team and, with fellow individual medallists Wariner and Taylor among the team, the American's eased to victory some three and a half seconds ahead of the Bahamians.[5] With Wariner absent from the field, Merritt won the gold medal at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Final.

Olympic champion and Wariner duels

Merritt's 2008 season was distinguished by a considerable rivalry with Wariner, who had won the 400  m at every major global championship since 2004. The 2008 IAAF Golden League provided the venue for many of their duels.[6] He scored his first major win over Wariner in a close affair at the Internationales Stadionfest in Berlin.[7] He confirmed his Olympic place a month later by winning at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials, again defeating the reigning Olympic champion Wariner.[8] Later in July at the Golden Gala meeting, Wariner responded by edging a win in the 400  m by just 0.01  seconds.[9] At the Meeting Gaz de France in Paris, the last Golden League competition before the Olympics, Wariner seemed to have the momentum behind him after a win in 43.86  seconds.[10]

Merritt winning 2008 Olympic gold, a second ahead of Jeremy Wariner

Merritt won the 400 m at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. A close race between Merritt and Wariner was expected,[11] though it ultimately ended in a rout. The 0.99-second margin between Merritt's first-place finish and Wariner's second-place finish was the largest in an Olympic 400  m final.[12] His time of 43.75, a new personal best, made him the fifth fastest 400  m runner on the all-time lists, still two places behind Wariner, who is third on the all-time list of fastest runners.[13] He teamed up with Wariner, Angelo Taylor and 400  m bronze medallist David Neville for the men's 4×400 m relay. The team defeated the Olympic record mark with had stood since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics by running a time of 2:55.39, the second fastest in the history of the event.[14]

Weeks after the Olympics, he lost to Wariner by a large margin at the Weltklasse Zürich, although Wariner's winning time of 43.82  seconds was still slower than Merritt's Olympic winning run.[15] Merritt secured his fourth win over Wariner that season at the 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final. Although the two had both beaten each other that season, Merritt had won all the most important races, ending the season as the Olympic and American champion over 400  m as well as taking home the World Athletics Final payday. He opted to miss out on the 2009 indoor season to focus on improving his running and technique.[6]

2009 World Champion

Merritt en route to becoming 400  m world champion in 2009

With Wariner already qualified for the World Championships as the defending champion, Merritt won the 400  m at the 2009 US Championships somewhat uncontested, equalling his own world leading time of 44.50  seconds. At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, in Berlin, he went on to win the 400  m in a world-leading time of 44.06 seconds, once again beating Wariner.[16][17]

On 22 April 2010 it was revealed he had failed three drugs tests and as a result he accepted a provisional suspension.[18] He claimed that the failed drug tests resulted from his use of an over-the-counter penis enlargement product, ExtenZe.[19] Merritt stated that he had not read the small print to check the ingredients of the product, which contains the banned steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone. He accepted a two-year ban for the infraction and stated that he had made a "foolish, immature and egotistical mistake...Any penalty I may receive for my action will not overshadow the embarrassment and humiliation I feel".[18]

2011: Return to the track

After his two-year ban was reduced to 21 months, LaShawn Merritt finished second at the Stockholm meeting of the Diamond League series with a time of 44.74. He received a berth to the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea due to his being the 2009 World Champion for the 400 meters. At the 2011 World Championships, he set a world leading time of 44.35. He eventually won the silver medal behind teenager Kirani James of Grenada, having led most of the race, but went on to run the final leg of the United States' gold medal winning 4x400m relay team having been in third place coming out of the final bend.

2012

Merritt was the number one qualifier at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Two weeks before the track and field events at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Merritt tweaked his hamstring in the Herculis meet in Monaco.[20] As a result of this injury he pulled up in a qualifying heat of the 400m at the London Olympics and did not finish.[21]

Personal bests

Event Time (sec) Venue Date
100 metres 10.56 Lynchburg, Virginia, United States March 31, 2007
200 metres 19.98 Carson, California, United States May 20, 2007
300 metres 31.30 Eugene, Oregon, United States June 7, 2009
400 metres 43.65 Beijing, China August 26, 2015
Indoor events
60 metres 6.68 Lynchburg, Virginia, United States February 18, 2006
200 metres 20.40 Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States February 12, 2005
300 metres 31.94 Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States February 10, 2006
400 metres 44.93 Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States February 11, 2005
500 metres 1:01.39 New York City, New York, United States February 10, 2012
  • All information taken from IAAF profile.

Merritt is one of only four men in history to have broken 20 seconds for the 200 metres and 44 seconds for the 400 metres, the other men being Michael Johnson, Isaac Makwala and Wayde Van Niekerk.

Achievements

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2004 World Junior Championships Grosseto, Italy 1st 400 m 45.25
1st 4×100 m relay 38.66 WJR
1st 4×400 m relay 3:01.09 WJR
2005 World Championships in Athletics Helsinki, Finland 1st 4×400 m relay 3:00.48 (heats)
2006 World Indoor Championships Moscow, Russia 1st 4×400 m relay 3:03.24
World Athletics Final Stuttgart, Germany 3rd 400 m 44.14
World Cup Athens, Greece 1st 400 m 44.54
1st 4×400 m relay 3:00.11
2007 World Championships in Athletics Osaka, Japan 2nd 400 m 43.96 PB
1st 4×400 m relay 2:55.56
World Athletics Final Stuttgart, Germany 1st 400 m 44.58
2008 Summer Olympics Beijing, China 1st 400 m 43.75 PB
1st 4×400 m relay 2:55.39
2009 World Championships in Athletics Berlin, Germany 1st 400 m 44.06
1st 4×400 m relay 2:57.86
World Athletics Final Thessaloniki, Greece 1st 400 m 44.93
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 2nd 400 m 44.63
1st 4×400 m relay 2:59.31
2012 Summer Olympics London, United Kingdom 400 m DNF
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 1st 400 m 43.74 PB
1st 4×400 m relay 2:58.71
2014 World Relay Championships Nassau, Bahamas 1st 4×400 m relay 2:57.25
2015 World Relay Championships Nassau, Bahamas 1st 4×400 m relay 2:58.43
World Championships Beijing, China 2nd 400 m 43.65
1st 4×400 m relay 2:57.82

Merritt ran the fastest times for the 400 metres in 2008 (43.75), 2009 (44.06) and 2011 (44.35).

See also

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ LaShawn Merritt. USATF. Retrieved on 2010-06-27.
  2. ^ Grosseto – Three World Junior records set in the space of 90 minutes. IAAF (2004-07-18). Retrieved on 2009-06-02.
  3. ^ html#detM_4X4_hash_h 4x400 Metres Relay – M Heats. IAAF (2005-08-13). Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  4. ^ org/news/kind=4/newsid=41236.html#event+report+mens+400m+final Event report: Men’s 400m Final. IAAF (2007-08-31). Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  5. ^ org/news/kind=4/newsid=41474.html#event+report+mens+4x400m+relay+final Event report: men's 4x400m Relay Final. IAAF (2007-09-02). Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  6. ^ a b Wenig, Jörg (2008-09-13). Merritt vs. Wariner 2008 – final score: Merritt 4, Wariner 3. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  7. ^ Turner, Chris (2008-06-01). Wariner and Jepkosgei’s Jackpot hopes foiled; Upsets all the way in Berlin – ÅF Golden League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  8. ^ Dunaway, James (2008-07-04). Merritt upsets Wariner, Richards cruises as action resumes in Eugene – US Olympic Trials, day 5. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  9. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2008-07-12). By mere inches, Wariner takes round three – ÅF Golden League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  10. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2008-07-18). Wariner: ‘I wanted to come out here and make a statement today’ – ÅF Golden League, Paris. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ 400 Metres All Time. IAAF (2009-10-13). Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  14. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2008-08-23). Men's 4x400m Relay – FINAL. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  15. ^ Turner, Chris (2008-08-29). Jelimo hones in on historic mark; Bolt electrifies in Zürich – ÅF Golden League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b US 400m star LaShawn Merritt fails drug test. BBC Sport (2010-04-22). Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • LaShawn Merritt profile at IAAF
Awards
Preceded by
Jason Richardson
USA Track & Field Youth Athlete of the Year
2004
Succeeded by
Ebony Collins
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