The United States is having a stellar showing thus far at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Part way through Day 6 of the 10-day biennial meet, Americans have racked up 16 medals, including seven golds.
But one of the favorites to add another gold to the table posted a very surprising result.
Michael Norman out of 400 meters
Michael Norman, one of the bright young stars of American track and field, finished last in his semifinal heat of the 400 meters on Wednesday, appearing to be jogging over the final 100 or so meters. His time of 45.94 seconds is far off his season- and lifetime-best of 43.45, which came in April; that was also the fastest time in the world this year.
It’s even a stark difference when compared to his winning 44.26 performance last month at the Diamond League final in Brussels.
Norman ran 45.0 seconds on Tuesday in his opening-round heat, but the objective there was to comfortably move on and he did win the heat.
In post-race interviews, he seemed to indicate that he’d over-trained during the year, and wasn’t at his peak when he needed to be.
He told Lewis Johnson of NBC after the race, “My body was telling me stuff, giving me signs. Trying to push myself to an area I’m not capable of running right now. Body’s telling me to slow down to keep something tragic from happening.”
He said he felt a warning sign in one of his legs during Wednesday’s race.
In an interview with Spanish network TVE, he said, “I’m disappointed, but I’m not fit. During the season I had the feeling that my training has been too much for me.”
Norman turned professional after his sophomore year at USC, when he set a new world record in the indoor 400 meters; he also ran an NCAA record 43.61 seconds in at the outdoor championships that spring. He still trains at USC.
Fred Kerley is American hope
While Norman is out, Fred Kerley did advance to the 400M final. Kerley was the NCAA record-holder in the event for one year before Norman bested his time.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old ran 44.25 seconds in his semifinal, the third-fastest time of the day. He’ll face off against 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kirani James of Grenada and Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas, the 2017 world championships bronze medalist, in Thursday’s final.
"It looked like he deliberately jogged this race."— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 2, 2019
Michael Norman was one of the favourites for the men's 400m title but he finished last in the semi-finals.#bbcathletics #worldathleticschamps pic.twitter.com/qAqzmPCXI9
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