DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — USA Track and Field has found a wind-win situation for the strong breezes inside Drake Stadium— the direction for all sprint events will be switched starting Friday.
Instead of bursting from the blocks in the north end of the stadium and finishing in the south, it will be reversed. Times were noticeably slower Thursday as sprinters charged into strong gusts for the first-round heats of the 100 meters. Dentarius Locke of Florida State turned in the fastest performance at a pedestrian 10.19 seconds, which isn't even among the top 50 times in the world this season.
Before nationals, Tyson Gay trimmed his longer locks, making him more aerodynamic in these sometimes blustery conditions.
"Considering the major headwinds, wouldn't have been a good look with my hair blowing back," said Gay, who easily won his heat.
The forecast for the men's and women's 100 final on Friday calls for breezes of up to 17 mph. That wind will now be at the back of the sprinters — provided it doesn't switch.
Even more of a hindrance could be this: Rain. The meet was temporarily halted Friday morning by severe weather moving through the area. Fans briefly exited the stadium before being allowed back in after about a 30-minute delay.