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Aug. 24, 2004

ATHENS, Greece – Tonight could be a busy one for the Gamecocks at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with a number of USC-affiliated athletes competing. Earlier two Gamecock-affiliated hurdlers advanced to Wednesday’s second round.

Tonight USC volunteer coach Melissa Morrison will compete in the finals of the 100m hurdles. Morrison is the only 2000 Sydney Olympic Games medalist to make the finals as she won the bronze in 2000. Morrison tied her own personal best in the semi-finals, clocking a 12.53.

USC graduate Tonique Williams-Darling, now training in Norfolk, Va., will run in the finals of the 400m. Williams-Darlling is the No. 1 400m runner in the world and has not lost a race yet this year. Former volunteer coach and Columbia native Monique Hennagan will also compete in the 400m final. Hennagan enters the finals with the top time of the semi-finals.

Three-time NCAA champion Aleen Bailey will compete in the semi-finals of the 200m, looking to make Wednesday night’s final.

Earlier today, the men’s 110m hurdles first round didn’t go exactly according to plan, but USC volunteer coach Allen Johnson and USC graduate Terrence Trammell will both compete in Wednesday’s second round. With the first four finishers in each of six heats automatically qualifying, Trammell was fifth in the second heat in 13.51 and had to wait until the end of the round to discover he had qualified on time. Saying he simply was “sluggish,” the Olympic Trials champion looked forward to competing only in the evening for the remainder of the competition.

Johnson was an easy third in the fourth heat in 13.45

USC Head Coach was quick to point out this would be a very tough event, the 110m hurdles. He said so many are people running well as the event gets better and better.

“I was surprised that Allen and Terrence ran 13.40’s and 13.50’s. But they are both mature athletes who can manage a race very well because of their experience,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye who coaches Johnson and coached Trammell until the Fall of 2003 when he returned home to Atlanta to train with his high school coach. “Allen was a little in and out in the first race. He was in it, then got up, then he ran hard again, then floated a bit and then ran hard again. Typical Allen Johnson race as he advances through the rounds.”