Fort Mill Times

Van Wyck's Crawford is Beijing bound

Shawn Crawford, shown here winning his heat in the men's 100 meter dash quarterfinal in 2004, has qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
Shawn Crawford, shown here winning his heat in the men's 100 meter dash quarterfinal in 2004, has qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Shawn Crawford will be back to defend his gold medal in the Olympics next month in Beijing.

The 2004 Gold Medalist in the 200 meters finished in second-place in Sunday's finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Crawford, 30, is a native of Van Wyck. He was a 1996 graduate of Indian Land High School and went on to graduate from Clemson University in 2000.

The Track and Field events were held June 27 through July 6 in Eugene, Ore. Crawford attempted to represent our country in the 100 meters but was knocked out in the quarterfinal round on June 28. He finished fourth in the 2004 Olympics in that event with a time of 9.89 seconds.

He had nearly a week to prepare for his specialty, the 200. On July 4, he ran the fastest time of the day. He won his heat easily with a time of 20.18 seconds. The next day he again posted the best time with a 20.33 in the quarter finals. That afternoon he qualified for the finals after running 20.21 seconds.

Crawford, who now lives in Los Angeles, was in lane four for the finals. He was leading the race before Florida State sprinter Walter Dix nipped him at the finish line. The pair finished with identical times of 19.86. Wallace Spearmon Jr. finished third.

"We're all so proud of him here in Van Wyck. He's a nice young man and I admire him very much," Van Wyck resident Peggy Mobley said.

"He's done a good job. He's worked hard to reach his goals. Of course he's got a little age on him now," Richard Vaughan, also of Van Wyck, said. "We're pulling for him to bring home the gold from Beijing.

Crawford, Dix and Spearmon will compete for the U.S. in Beijing. All three sprinters had outstanding college careers in their home states.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Crawford won the NCAA Indoors 200 as a sophomore at Clemson and went on to set the American indoor 200 record of 20.26 while winning NCAA Indoors as a senior.

Dix attended Coral Springs (Fla.) High School prior to his time at Florida State. The 5-9, 190-pounder, was a three-time NCAA Outdoor champion in 200m. He twice won the NCAA Outdoor 100m. He will also compete in the 100m in the summer Olympics.

Spearmon grew up in Fayetteville, Ark., and went to the University of Arkansas where he was coached by his father Wallace Spearmon Sr. As a freshman, Spearmon became the first Razorback in history to win the NCAA Outdoor 200m title.

Jane Massey, also of Van Wyck, was reminded of the reception held in Crawford's honor in 2004 after he made the Olympic team.

"People came from all over the state; all over the country. It turned out to be a lot bigger than we thought," Massey said.

Any plans for a repeat celebration will have to be completed quickly. The Summer Olympic Games begin Aug. 8.

Betty Broome helped organize Crawford's last reception. "We're going to have to do something but at this point we just don't know what that will be," she said.