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Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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Clement_KerronSF-London17.jpGKerron Clement, 400 m hurdle rounds, London 2017, photo by PhotoRun.net

Olympic Champion Seeking Unprecedented 3rd 400m Hurdles Gold!

 

August 7th, 2017

London, England

Once accomplished world class athletes have tasted great success, how do they find new, fresh motivation to press on? If you are Kerron Clement - highly-decorated 400 meter hurdler - you find a way to create goals, preferably goals as yet unachieved by anyone else in the sport. "It would be amazing," declares an animated Clement as he shares his 2017 world championship gold medal dream. The reigning Olympic 400H champion already has two WC golds that date back to '07 and '09. "I would be the only hurdler in history to have three. I'm going for history," states the former University of Florida star who has never been coy about outlining his goals. "I'm really excited to have the opportunity just to get it. I'll try everything I have in my bones and in my body to get that third gold medal."

Clement - who actually has four world championship golds when you add in the two first place medals he earned in Osaka and Berlin for his contributions to Team USA's victories in the 4x400m relays - is a man on a mission. And his performances in the early rounds suggest that the #7 400 meter hurdler on the all-time list is up to the challenge. In the opening round, the hurdle veteran whose 48.02 clocking earlier this year is #2 on the world list cruised to a seemingly-effortless win in 49.44. Clement's semi-final race was tougher as the veteran - mired in 4th as he cleared the final hurdle - kept his cool and used his strength and speed in to pass 3 opponents on the run in for the win. His 48.35 clocking was the fastest of the day as he moves on to the Day 6 final.

After watching his teammates T.J. Holmes and Eric Futch compete in their semi-final heats, Clement - relaxed and upbeat with the media in the mixed zone - knows what he needs to do in the championship race. "For me, I've just got to stay focused and not panic. I know that my strength will carry me through off the last hurdle, the last 40 meters. I need to just trust my training," explains the two-time champion as he identifies a few last-minute adjustments he needs to implement for the final. "I need to work on the turn, finish strong, and the gold medal will be mine."

Norwegian star Karsten Warholm - who won the Diamond League long hurdles in the early-season Oslo gathering where Clement struggled - has shown good form in the first two rounds. Some have tabbed Warholm - who finished just behind the American in the semi-final race - as Clement's most formidable obstacle to achieving his dream. "He's a great athlete, running fast," notes Clement of his Norse adversary. "But I've got to focus on myself and focus on the medaling. My revenge would be to get a gold medal in the finals. Everyone is an opponent in the finals. I take no one for granted. So I have to give my best."

The 31-year old Clement - whose 2005 indoor 400 meter clocking of 44.57 is still the world record - has assumed the mantle of dean of the U.S. 400 meter hurdlers, a role he relishes. "Of course. I am really proud of the 400 meter hurdlers who made the team - Eric Futch, Michael Stigler, and T.J. Holmes [who will join Clement in the final]. We all train together and they motivate me to keep going and to stay at the top of my game," states the 2004 World Junior champion. "Training with those young guys keeps you humble. They motivate me so much to keep going, and to know that I have to stay on top of my game because they're chasing me," adds Clement with a smile.

And so Kerron Clement is keeping his eye on the prize: that 3rd gold medal in the 400 meter hurdles, a win that would elevate him above the other two-time world champions: Edwin Moses ['83 and '87] and Felix Sanchez ['01 and '03]. A third individual hurdle gold for Clement would constitute a sort of Triple Crown or - in hockey parlance - a "Hat Trick." We know that Clement - who over the years has engaged in a number of modelling assignments - already has a heightened level of sartorial appreciation. Can't you just picture Kerron wearing that hat?

RunBlogRun Some photographs on this site have been reproduced with permission from runblogrun.com.