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Wallace Spearmon, Jr., middle, and teammates Maurice Mitchell and Isiah Young are London-bound.
An inch can decide an eighth of a mile.
Such was the case for track and field sprinter Wallace Spearmon, Jr. at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, when a misstep cost him a bronze medal in the 200-meter finals. Now 27 years old, Spearmon is looking for a shot at redemption in London.
With a personal-best time of 19.65 for the 200-meter dash, Spearmon is the seventh-fastest runner of all-time. London’s Olympic Stadium is an open-air facility, so headwinds could slow the runners’ times, or a tailwind could shorten the race.
One thing’s for sure -- London will be mild, and runners will be able to stay loose.
“As a sprinter, 70- to 80-degree weather is ideal,” Spearmon said. “I ran in Drake Relays ... it was 50 degrees and I still ran 20.02 (seconds). It’s probably not going to medal in London, but it let me know I can run when the conditions aren’t ideal.”
With an average August high temperature of 73 degrees, London’s weather looks to be right in the “happy zone” for Spearmon.
London is competitively-comparable to the 72-degree observed high temperature recorded over the weekend at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Spearmon ran a polished 19.82-second race on Sunday, finishing first in the 200-meter final and punching his ticket to London. He’ll need to shave every possible hundredth of a second off that time, because Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake may be the most formidable opponents in the event’s history. The duo is the favorite to ascend the medal stand in London -- titans of what is arguably the premier event of the Summer Games.
But Spearmon is only focused on preparing for whatever Mother Nature tosses his way ... and staying in his lane this time.
“That’s just something you have to deal with,” Spearmon said. "You’re either ready or you’re not."