Portsmouth native LaShawn Merritt has unfortunately dropped out of the 400 meter race due to a recent injury resurfacing during the preliminary heat. The gold medal hopeful suffered a strained lower left hamstring during a tuneup meet in Monaco two weeks ago. Less than 200 meters into the race, Merritt pulled up, making the difficult decision to not risk any further damage.
“I got out and got around the curve and started to feel it. l started to move a little bit more, and I still felt it. I thought if I push it, I can really, really injure myself. And I have a long career ahead of me. It’s very disappointing. But I’ll regroup. It’s not the end of the world. The Olympics are going to come around again. Next year is a world championship. We have a season every year. Now it’s a matter of getting healthy and enjoying what I love to do. My job now is to support the USA 400 meter runners, and I have a lot of friends from other countries who run the 400. My job now is to go back and wish them well, and may the best man win.”
Despite his decision to drop out of the 400, LaShawn hasn’t completely ruled out running in the 4 x 400. “We have some time before the relay comes up. If I go out and practice and still feel it, obviously I’ll let someone else run it. We have a lot of depth in the 400, a lot of young guys, a lot of 400 hurdlers who can run the 400. It wouldn’t make sense on my part to not let those guys run it.”