tsmithjohnson (tsmithjohnson) wrote,





Angelo F. Taylor (born December 29, 1978) is an American track and field athlete, winner of 400-meter hurdles at the 2000 and 2008 Summer Olympics. His personal record for the hurdles event is 47.25 seconds. His time puts him in a tie with Félix Sánchez for the #8 performer of all time.

Taylor also has a 400-meter dash best of 44.05 seconds, ranking him as the #15 performer of all time, superior to any other athlete who has made a serious effort in the 400 metres hurdles. He won the bronze medal in the 400 m at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.

He is a three-time World Champion in the 4×400 m relay with the United States
(2007, 2009 and 2011),

and was also a relay Gold medalist at the

2008 Beijing Olympics and

Silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics.

Early Life

Born in Albany, Georgia, Angelo Taylor studied at the Georgia Institute of Technology and won the NCAA title in 1998 and placed second in 1997. In 1998, Taylor also won a silver medal at the US National Championships.
He went on to win the title three times from 1999 to 2001.

Taylor made his debut in a major international meet at the 1999 World Championships, where he finished Third in his heat in 400 m hurdles, but ran a third leg at the Gold Medal winning U.S.  4x400 m relay team.

2000 Olympics Champion

In 2000, Taylor ran a world-leading time at the Olympic Trials and entered the Sydney Games as a favorite.   In a thrilling final, Taylor moved from fourth place to first over the final two hurdles and barely edged Saudi Arabia's Hadi Souan Somayli by 0.03 seconds in the closest finish in the history of the event.

Angelo Taylor's 2000 Olympic 400 hurdle gold. Amazing lane 1 victory!

Taylor ran in the heat and semifinal of 4x400 m relay race, the finals team for which won the gold medal. On August 2, 2008, the International Olympic Committee stripped the gold medal from the U.S. men's 4x400-meter relay team, after Antonio Pettigrew admitted using a banned substance. Three of the four runners in the event final, including Pettigrew and twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, and preliminary round runner Jerome Young, all have admitted or tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.[2] Only Taylor and world record holder Michael Johnson were not implicated.

Taylor was eliminated in the semifinals of the 2001 World Championships in 400 m hurdles while struggling with a sinus infection and flu, but won a Gold Medal as a member of U.S.  4x400 m relay team. He didn't make the US World Championships team in 2003 and was unsuccessful in defending his Olympic title at the 2004 Summer Olympics, finishing fourth in the semifinal.

Second Olympics Title

In 2007 Taylor set a new personal best in the 400 m and won the American title in the event. He won the 400 m Bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka and won another Gold medal as
part of the USA 4×400m relay team.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Taylor became a double Olympic Champion, winning Gold in the 400 meter hurdles and the 4×400 m relay.

At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics he failed to make it out of the heats of the hurdles, but was part of the American 4×400 m relay team which successfully defended its World title.
Taylor finished second in the 200m at the 2010 Rieti IAAF Grand Prix in August with a new personal record time of 20.23 seconds.[3] He fell behind Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson in the hurdles rankings that year, but in the 2010 IAAF Diamond League he managed top three finishes in Lausanne, Monaco and Stockholm. He had a season's best of 47.79 seconds for the event that year. He also had two podium finishes in the 400 m, coming second at the Golden Gala and third in a season's best of 44.72 seconds at the Weltklasse Zurich.

2011, Eugene, Oregon, USA, IAAF Track and Field Diamond League, in the third race of the season we have a third winner, Taylor (USA) beats former champ Jeremy Wariner (USA) by .16 seconds.

He came third in the 400 m hurdles at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a season's best run of 47.94 seconds, gaining a place on the national team. He won at the Herculis meeting in July, but did not peak for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, where he finished seventh in the final.[5] He performed well in the relay, however, taking the United States to victory in a time of 2:59.31 minutes alongside Greg Nixon, Bershawn Jackson and LaShawn Merritt.
Taylor began his 2012 season with a runner-up finish at the Mt. SAC Relays. He was third over 400 m at the Doha 2012 Diamond League meet
and won the first 400 m hurdles race
in Shanghai, China!

2012, Shanghai, China, IAAF Track and Field Diamond League, the first four points go to Taylor (USA) at 48.98 seconds, ahead of fellow American Justin Gaymon by .09.

2012 London Summer Olympics

Taylor was Captain of the USA men's track Olympic squad in his fourth Olympics. The two-time 400m hurdles gold medalist finished fifth in the event in a time of 48.25. In the 4x400m relay finals, Taylor ran the anchor leg and was given the lead but was chased down by the Bahamas team, so the USA team won the Silver medal, the first time they failed to win gold since 1980, the edition of the games in which the Americans boycotted.


Personal bests




100 metres 10.58 Athens, GA 19 April 2008
200 metres 20.23 Rieti, Italy 29 August 2010
300 metres 32.67 Liège, Belgium 27 August 2002
400 metres 44.05 Indianapolis, IN 23 June 2007
400 metres hurdles 47.25 Beijing, China 18 August 2008





Stacy Renée Dragila (née Mikaelson; born 25 March 1971 in Auburn, California) is an American former pole vaulter.

Early life

Stacy Dragila standing in front of her photographic statue while being inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame
Stacy grew up in the rural town of Auburn. When her older brother Eric got involved with Rodeo, she followed him into the sport. She also participated in gymnastics, but had to give it up due to childhood asthma.

She attended Placer Union High School where she played volleyball and ran on the track team as a sprinter, hurdler and jumper. Early on, she didn't feel she was living up to her potential. She got coaching from Yuba Community College's John Orognen. She managed to get to the finals of the 300 meters hurdles at the CIF California State Meet, but didn't place.[1] She placed second at the Golden West Invitational in the 400 meters hurdles.[2]

After high school, she continued to Yuba College and continued with Orognen, working on hurdles and eventually spreading her effort to the heptathlon. Her primary focus was to gain a track scholarship to a four-year school. Orognen was diagnosed with lung cancer. From his death bed he advised her to pursue her dreams without compromise.

Dave Nielsen offered the promising heptathlete a scholarship to Idaho State University. While there, her scores improved to the respectable range of 4,700 to 4,800 points, but she seemed to reach a ceiling. She also married Iraq war veteran Brent Dragila.

Pole Vaulting

An ex-pole vaulter, Nielsen got her to try the pole vault. At the time it was not an official event for women. She reluctantly gave it a try to appease her coach. She showed no aptitude for the event. But with Nielsen's coaching and body control coaching from his wife, Joy Umenhofer who coached for the United States Tumbling & Trampoline team, she was able to get the hang of it. She cleared 10 feet in 1994 and was surprised when Track and Field News published the mark as an American record.

As the women's pole vault was becoming a demonstration sport, she vaulted at more and more competitions. She cleared 11 feet in 1995 at the BYU Cougar Track Invitational., 11'2" at the Prefontaine Classic and almost 11'6" as a demonstration at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The national championships qualified her to compete with the U.S. team in Great Britain. She joined the European track circuit where her marks continued to improve. The sport gained popularity during the season, with China's Sun Caiyun, Czech Republic's Daniela Bártová and Australia's Emma George attempting to set new world records at every meet before her eyes as Stacy improved to over 12 feet.

After graduating, Nielsen gave her a job as assistant coach, which she supplemented by working as a waitress. Her improvement continued, clearing 13 feet in January 1996. By June she was up to 13' 9" The Olympic Trials held the women's pole vault as a demonstration event, which Stacy won by a foot. But there was no Olympics for her that year.[3]


Stacy Dragila accepting her induction into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame

The first ever women's pole vault world championship was held at the 1997 IAAF World Indoor Championships. All the top vaulters were there and Stacy took the gold medal, setting a new indoor world record in the process. Along with the win came $25,000 in prize money, but the IAAF instead disqualified her from the prize money because Stacy's skimpy outfit didn't leave room for the sponsor's bib number. It took a succession of apologetic letters to collect her prize.

Though she tried, sponsorships were hard to come by. Athletic women pole vaulting in skimpy outfits attracted the public's attention, but the event was not yet scheduled for the outdoor World Championships or Olympics. The vigorous move to Olympic status started before the 17,000 strong crowd at the 1998 Millrose Games, with Stacy attempting a world record over 14'6" at the end of a battle with Janine Whitlock of Great Britain. In the next weeks, Emma George kept improving the world record, becoming the first woman over 15 feet, Stacy was right there in position to challenge until a stress fracture curtailed her season.

At the invitation of Amy Acuff, Stacy posed for a calendar to benefit the Florence Griffith Joyner Foundation. The photo attracted attention and turned Stacy into a hot commodity for photo sessions with Vogue and W. Suddenly, sponsors were calling her.

While others, including Tatiana Grigorieva, Kellie Suttle and Melissa Mueller were improving the records, it increased the popularity of the sport and increased the prize money. When the Santa Barbara Beach Vault offered $100,000 to the first woman to clear 15 feet, Stacy cashed in.[4]

With all this popularity, the IOC had little choice but to include the women's pole vault in the 2000 Olympic program.[5]The first outdoor world championship was held at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics. While Emma George had a bad day competitively, Stacy took not only the gold medal but George's world record, which George would never get back. With the new rule allowing indoor marks to be counted as world records, Stacy continued to improve the world record and held it continuously for almost four years, save a 6-day period when Svetlana Feofanova took the record in the 2001 indoor season. Yelena Isinbayeva finally took the record in 2003 and is still the current world record holder.

At the 2000 Summer Olympics she won the first gold medal in women's pole vaulting dramatically coming from behind to beat the former Soviet turned Australian Grigorieva on home turf.

National titles

The 1996 contest was a non-championship event


Womens PoleVault Stacey Dragila (USA) 1st Emma George (Austraia) 2nd Bridgid Isworth 3rd 4.25m (Australian Junior Record)

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