SPORTS

Kerron Clement Wins 400 Hurdles For U.S. Men's First Gold On Track In Rio

About time!
Kerron Clement crosses the finish line first in the 400 hurdles final.
Kerron Clement crosses the finish line first in the 400 hurdles final.

RIO DE JANEIRO ― Kerron Clement of the United States dipped on the line to win the men’s Olympic 400 meters hurdles on Thursday after one of the pre-race favorites, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, was disqualified for a false start.

Clement led down the home straight and was still clear going into the closing meters as he finished with a long, easy stride. But he had to lean into the tape to deny Kenya’s Boniface Mucheru Tumuti, charging up fast two lanes to his right.

Clement overcame the hurdle of never having won an individual gold at the Olympics.
Clement overcame the hurdle of never having won an individual gold at the Olympics.

Turkey’s Yasmani Copello took the bronze, in a race thrown wide open by the failure of world champion Nicholas Bett of Kenya to make it through the heats.

Clement clocked 47.73 seconds to win by 0.05 of a second, with all the first five beating the previous best this season.

Culson, 32, bronze medalist in London in 2012, blew his chance by jumping the gun, and briefly sat sobbing by the side of the track before trudging away.

It was Clement’s first major championship medal since he won the 2009 world title, having taken the silver at the Beijing Olympics the year before.

Clement, congratulated by Ashton Eaton, said, "This is something I wanted with all my heart."
Clement, congratulated by Ashton Eaton, said, "This is something I wanted with all my heart."

“It means so much. I was focused and my mind was set. I showed determination and a will to win and this is something I wanted with all my heart,” the 30-year-old said.

Clement, with the American flag afterward, won by just .05 of a second.
Clement, with the American flag afterward, won by just .05 of a second.

It was the first gold for the American men on the track in Rio. They had previously won golds in field events.

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