EUGENE, Ore. —One by one, a generation of American track and field's best athletes slowed at the finish, pulled up lame and failed to find their fastest gear. By the time the week was over, Walter Dix was among the few who looked ready to take on the world.
Dix completed the 100-200 double at U.S. track championships Sunday, meaning he'll be the headliner on the American world team that will be missing Tyson Gay, Lolo Jones, Wallace Spearmon and a handful of other regulars.
Dix completed his sprint double by running the 200 in a wind-aided 19.95 seconds for a .03 margin over Darvis Patton. He'll head to worlds in South Korea later this summer as America's best sprinter, which puts him squarely on Jamaican world-record holder Usain Bolt's radar with the Olympics coming up next summer.
"I can't see myself losing," Dix said in a typical burst of optimism. Bolt's world record in the 200 is 19.19 seconds.
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Carmelita Jeter's shot at the women's 100-200 double blew up when Shalonda Solomon accelerated past her in the last 50 meters to win with a world-best time of 22.15. This was Solomon's first win at a major meet, made possible in part because defending world champion Allyson Felix sat out and focused on the 400, which she won.
Dix and Jeter, whose second-place time of 22.23 was a personal best, were among the few big-name runners who tried multiple events at an important track meet that, at times, felt more like play time or a visit inside the trainer's room.
Sanya Richards-Ross, the world 400 champion, joined Felix in bypassing her main event to try something new. But Richards-Ross failed to qualify in the 200, finishing seventh, meaning she'll only compete in the 400 at worlds in August.
Jones, hampered by a painful sciatic nerve, didn't make it through the semifinal round of the 100 hurdles, meaning the multiple-time champion and America's best-known name in that event won't join the U.S. team at worlds.
Jennifer Suhr had her five-year streak of national titles snapped in the pole vault. Battling injuries all season, Suhr finished second to Kylie Hutson, who cleared 15 feet, 3 inches.
Hyleas Fountain, America's best at the heptathlon, was fighting through food poisoning and a number of other maladies on her way to sixth.
Kellie Wells won the 100 hurdles in a world-best 12.50 seconds, beating the year's best mark that she already owned and edging Danielle Carruthers and Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper.
Adam Nelson won the shot put, and Kansas' Mason Finley finished 11th.
Jesse Williams cleared 7 feet, 9 1/4 inches in the high jump to set a Hayward Field record as Kansas State's Erik Kynard finished third with a jump of 7-5 3/4. Defending world champion Brittney Reese jumped a personal-best 23 feet, 7 1/4 inches for her fourth straight long jump title.
Oregon's Nick Symmonds won his fourth straight men's 800 championship.