Richards, who posted the fastest women's 400m time in the world this season (49.36 seconds) a week ago in Zurich, ran even faster today in Brussels, taking firm control of the race early on and finishing in 49.29 seconds. 2007 World Outdoor Championships silver medalist Nicola Sanders of Great Britain was the runner-up in 50.34, and bronze medalist Novlene Williams of Jamaica was third in 50.66. Team USA World Championships relay gold medalist Mary Wineberg finished fourth in 50.76.
Richards ran the five fastest 400m times in the world in 2006, and currently owns the three fastest times in the world this season. Richards was undefeated outdoors in the 400m last year, winning a $249,999 portion of the jackpot for sweeping each race of the Golden League Series.
If Richards wins Sunday in Berlin, Germany, at the sixth and final event of the 2007 Golden League, her share of the total $1 Million Jackpot will be either half of it, or all of it. The only other athlete who remains undefeated in the first five events of the 2007 Golden League is women's pole vault world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, who was victorious today with her winning clearance of 4.80 meters/15 feet 9 inches, setting up what should be a dramatic showdown on Sunday.
In other women's events in Brussels, two-time World Outdoor 100m hurdles champion Michelle Perry finished third in her specialty in 12.61 seconds. Sweden's Susanna Kallur, who placed fourth at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, was the victor in 12.52 seconds. Jamaica's Delloreen Ennis-London, who won the bronze medal in Osaka, was the runner-up, finishing in the exact time as Perry (12.61). 2007 World Outdoor Champs finalist LoLo Jones placed fourth in 12.70.
Osaka World Championships 4x100m relay gold medalist Torri Edwards had a busy day in Brussels finishing second in the women's 200 meters in 22.81 seconds and third in the 100m in 11.22. Osaka 100m bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter finished fourth in the 100m in 11.27, with Osaka finalist LaShuntea Moore placing fourth in the 200m in 23.13. Belgium's Kim Gevaert thrilled her home crowd with her win in the 200m in 22.75 seconds, as Jamaica's reigning world champion Veronica Campbell captured the 100m in 11.11.
For more information on the 2007 Memorial Van Damme meet in Brussels and the IAAF Golden League, visit www.iaaf.org.
USOC honors Team USA stars
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Friday that Allyson Felix is the Female August Athlete of the Month.
Felix became just the second woman in history to win three gold medals at a single World Championships when she finished first in the 200m, 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay at the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.
Her most impressive run came in the 200m as she defended her world title with the largest margin of victory in World Championships history. In addition to achieving a personal best by finishing in 21.81 seconds, Felix also marked the fastest time run by a woman this century. She improved her previous best by .30 seconds and finished .53 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
In winning the gold medal in the women's 4x400m relay, the U.S. quartet of Dee Dee Trotter, Felix, Mary Wineberg and Sanya Richards ran the fastest time in 14 years (3:18.55).
photos Janos Schmidt