“I vote for a jello wrestling match,” Gatlin said when asked how to break the tie.
In other events Sunday, LaShawn Merritt won the men’s 400 with a 2012 world best time of 44.12. Five runners finished under 45 seconds, including silver medalist Tony McQuay of Riviera Beach, Fla., who is entering his senior year at Florida, where he helped the Gators win the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles. In third was Bryshon Nellum, who recovered from a 2008 gunshot wound to his legs. Former champ Jeremy Wariner was sixth.
Merritt, gold medalist at the Beijing Games, had served a suspension for a positive drug test, which he appealed and had reduced by proving the medication in question was a male enhancement product from a drugstore.
“My plan is to do a replay of 2008,” said Merritt, who has been training in Florida.
Richards-Ross, a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High, does not want a replay of 2008, when she faded to third in the 400. She said she was misdiagnosed with Behcet’s disease in 2007. In 2010, when she was going through another outbreak of lesions and mouth sores, she consulted with a new doctor who concluded she has a skin disorder, not Behcet’s.
Since changing her treatment regimen, she has felt better. No more joint pain and fatigue, although she still gets occasional mouth sores. Her time Sunday was best in the world since 2009, when she won the world title.
“I’m looking to be my old self and run 48 seconds,” she said, referring to her 2006 American record of 48.70.
She plans to move to Jacksonville with Ross, a former cornerback for the Super Bowl champion Giants who was traded to the Jaguars. They’ll keep a home in Austin, Tex., where they went to college.
Gatlin, 30, a native of Pensacola, became the oldest trials winner in his event eight years after he was the youngest at the Olympics. From 2006 to 2010, he was banned from the sport after testing positive for excessive testosterone, then blacklisted by meet directors.
“I’ve heard the world ‘redemption,’” Gatlin said. “But I’m looking forward, not backward. I’ve been a clean athlete.”
Jeff Demps of Gainesville, a former Gator running back, finished seventh in the 100.