The United States' Angelo Taylor, right, clears a hurdle as he watched Ukraine's Stanislav Melnykov out of the corner of his eye during Friday's men's 400-meter hurdles qualifying at Olympic Stadium in London. The Albany native won the heat with a time of 49.29 to advance to Saturday's semifinals at 2 p.m.
Want To Watch?
WHO: Albany native and reigning gold medalist Angelo Taylor.
WHAT: Semifinals of the men's 400-meter hurdle event at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday.
ONLINE (LIVE) OR TV (TAPED): To watch qualifying live, go to nbcolympics.com, or stay tuned to NBC later in the day to watch on tape delay.
LONDON — Angelo Taylor’s bid to become the first hurdler in history to win three gold medals is very much alive.
The Albany native and former Georgia Tech star cruised in his opening qualifying heat in the men’s 400-meter hurdles event Friday morning, winning his race — the fifth out of six total — with a time of 49.29. That automatically qualified Taylor for today’s semifinals, which will be run at 2 p.m. and can be seen live online at nbcolympics.com or later that day on tape delay on NBC.
Taylor sent out a tweet after the race, saying, “1 down and 2 to go! God is good!”
Taylor, who finished second at the U.S. Trials last month in Eugene, Ore., is trying to become the first hurdler in Olympic history to win three gold medals in the 400M hurdles. Track & field legend Edwin Moses and Taylor are currently tied with two.
Taylor, 33, won the gold in 2000 in Sydney and in 2008 in Beijing, while Moses won gold during the 1976 and 1984 Olympics, as well as a bronze in 1988. Moses would’ve had a chance to lay the foundation for history in the 1984 race, but he didn’t attend the 1980 Games because of the U.S. boycott of the Olympics that year because they were being held in Moscow.
After his heat, the London Business Recorder caught up with Taylor to ask him about the race and his chase at history.
“Most definitely I can win a third gold medal,” said Taylor, who also won Olympic 4x400m relay gold in 2008. “That’s why I’m here. I started planning for this as soon as I crossed the line in Beijing.
“There is something very special about the Olympics, and it always seems to bring the best out of me.”
Although his time was the 13th-fastest in the field of 47 runners Friday, Taylor’s 49.29 was actually the slowest qualifying mark of the six heat winners, which included Amaurys Valle of Cuba (49.19), American Michael Tinsley (49.13), Great Britain’s David Greene (48.98), Javier Culson of Puerto Rico (48.33) and Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic (49.24).
Taylor told The Recorder that he crowd cheering him on pushed him Friday.
“I was feeling a tad lethargic, but once I heard the roar of the crowd and saw how packed the stadium was, I got goosebumps and I sure woke up,” he said. “I’m not used to normally running in front of so many people that early in the morning, even at other championships, so it was a pleasant surprise.”
Tinsley is the runner who barely edged Taylor at the trials after Taylor led the entire way but ended up clipping the ninth hurdle and settling for second.
In Friday’s qualifying, Taylor — like he did at the trials — had a big lead for most of the race. He likely could’ve finished with a faster time, but seeing he was so far ahead, he coasted at the end.