HBCU Track Duo Medal In 110 Hurdles

By Tony McClean
Updated: August 21, 2008

2008 Olympics in BeijingNEW HAVEN, Ct. — While the Games of the 29th Olympiad are slowly coming to a close in Beijing, three Black College track standouts who will be returning home with Olympic medals.

In the 110-meter hurdle finals on Thursday, Cuba ‘s Dayron Robles won the gold medal with a time of 12.93, just .02 seconds off the Olympic record. However, it was two former MEAC products who would take second and third in the final.

David Payne, under the tutelage of Hampton University women’s track & field coach Maurice Pierce, finished second in the finals for the silver medal. He finished with a time of 13.17, .01 seconds ahead of Howard’s David Oliver, (13.18) who took the bronze.

Payne finished with a time of 13.21 in the semifinals on Wednesday, while Robles won the race in 13.12. Robles had previously set the world record at 12.87 on June 12, when he sliced one-hundredth of a second off the mark China’s Liu Xiang held for two years.

Ladji Doucoure of France, the 2005 world champion, was fourth.

For Payne, he became the first athlete that Pierce has coached to earn a medal. Former Pirate James Carter finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles in both Athens and Sydney.

He also coached Rachelle Thomas in the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays in Atlanta in 1996. Payne’s mother made it to Beijing just in time to see his races after the community raised more than $17,000 to send her to the Games.

As for Oliver, a gold medalist at the 2008 U.S. Indoor Games, he becomes the first Bison track and field athlete to earn an Olympic medal.

In other track and field Olympic action, Norfolk State alum Chris Brown finished just shy of medal contention in the 400m dash. Brown, who competed for the Bahamas, finished with fourth place time of 44.84.

Brown will return to the track on Friday to compete as a member of Bahamas’ 4x400m relay team. Maryland Eastern Shore’s Allodin Fothergill will also compete in the event as a member of Jamaica’s 4x400m relay team.

Also, another ex-Norfolk State sprinter Chandra Stirrup, running for the Bahamas, made the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters and was just nudged out from a spot in the finals.

Her time in the semis of 11.22 tied teammate Debbie Ferguson for the eighth and final spot. Ferguson advanced to the finals. St. Augustine’s Barbara Pierre, representing Haiti, did not make the semifinals of the event after clocking a 11.56 time in her second round heat.

Earlier this week another Saint Aug’s standout, 400-meter hurdler Bershawn Jackson claimed a bronze medal Monday completing a U.S. sweep in the event.

Jackson was clocked in 48.06 seconds to finish behind teammates Angelo Taylor (47.25) and Kerron Clement (47.98), who took home gold and silver medals respectively.

The three Americans had posted the best times in the event’s semifinals.