Fredericks Snaps Johnson’s Streak American Loses First 200 Final Following 21 Straight Victories
Frankie Fredericks edged Michael Johnson at the wire Friday to win the men’s 200 meters at the Bislett Games, snapping the American world champion’s winning streak of 21 races.
Fredericks, a Namibian, who missed the world 100-meter record by just 0.01 Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland, was timed in 19.82 seconds.
Johnson, who broke the world 200-meter record with a time of 19.66 in the U.S. Olympic trials 12 days ago, was three hundredths of a second behind. American Jeff Williams was third in 20.44.
It was the first time this year the two Olympic contenders met in the 200. Fredericks, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist, said he will not compete again before the Olympics.
Fredericks was fastest out of the blocks and still led coming out of the bend. On the straightaway, Johnson almost caught Fredericks, but the Namibian fought off the challenge toward the end.
Dennis Mitchell, another medal contender for the Olympics, took the men’s 100, leading an American sweep of the top three places.
Mitchell was clocked in a light headwind in 10.10. Tim Harden went 10.11 and Jeff Laynes 10.20.
” Sonia O’Sullivan of Ireland and Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal set world seasonal bests in the opening meet of track Golden Four series.
O’Sullivan, last year’s world champion at 5,000 meters and considered the world’s premier middle and long distance runner, won the 1,500 in 3 minutes, 59.91 seconds on a chilly night. Kelly Holmes of Britain was second in 4:01.13.
Ribeiro held off Gabriela Szabo of Romania by .05 seconds to win the 5,000 in 14:41.07. Ribeiro’s time was the third fastest ever.
Merlene Ottey, the 36-year-old veteran from Jamaica, captured the women’s 100 in 10.95 ahead of Americans Inger Miller, Gwen Torrence and Chryste Gaines.
Russian-born Ludmila Engquist, cleared Friday to compete for Sweden in the Olympics, won the women’s 100-meter hurdles in a wind-aided 12.48 seconds.
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