ATHENS, Greece – For the second straight round former University of Arkansas Lady Razorback Veronica Campbell led all 200-meter runners at the games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece, but this time she also clocked the fastest time in the world this year in the event at 22.13.
Campbell’s time was 0.05 seconds faster than the time she ran at the Jamaican National Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, at the end of June. She was two-tenths of a second ahead of the second-place finish, Jamaican Aleen Bailey. The NCAA Champion at 200 meters in March, Campbell’s time of 22.43 at the NCAA Indoor Championships was the collegiate record and the world’s best indoor mark in 2004.
“What a race,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “I think what Veronica said in her post-100 meter interviews is ‘I’m very proud of my bronze medal, but I wish that I had the opportunity to have my anthem played.’ Of course, to do that you have to win the gold and I think that she has positioned herself as the one to beat. For someone else to beat her, they will have to run the race of their lives.”
Showing her strength, Campbell once again got off to a strong start and maintained her speed throughout the curve and down the straightaway as others fell off the pace. Running out of lane five, Campbell made up the stagger on Bailey in lane six quickly, then the pair raced past the field, crossing first and second with the top two times of the day.
For the third straight 200-meter race, Campbell stepped into the blocks with former Lady Razorback teammate LaShaunte’a Moore of the U.S. team. Unfortunately for Moore, her dreams of an Olympic 200-meter medal were ended as she once again dipped under 22 seconds, but failed to make the eight-person final, finishing 11th overall and sixth in her heat.
“I am so proud of LaShaunte’a and everything she has accomplished at her first Olympic games,” Arkansas associate head coach Rolando Greene said. “We knew that if she could replicate her NCAA Championship performance of 22.37 that she could be a medal contender and so far, based on the results, that seems true. We also thought that if she ran the same race she did at the U.S. trials that she could be a finalist, but to make it to the semifinals in her first games is truly special. She has a great career ahead of her.”
Rounding out Arkansas’ competitors at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday was former Lady’Back Trine Pilskog who qualified for her native Norway in the 1,500-meter run. Participating in the third heat of the preliminary competition, Pilskog ran very well but could only manage a 10th-place finish in her heat at 4:08.61. Her time was nine-tenths of a second from making the top 24 qualifiers as she finished the day in 28th position.