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Meet LaShawn Merritt
Meet LaShawn Merritt
Focused, determined, humble: Just a few sides of Virginia's finest.

2008 U.S. Olympic Trials
2008 U.S. Olympic Trials
LaShawn defeated rival Jeremy Wariner to win the 400 meters in Eugene, Oregon.

02/12/2012 - 10:03
LaShawn Wins 500 at Millrose
by Devon Jeffreys

Opening the season in an unfamiliar event, LaShawn Merritt still had no trouble getting 2012 started with a win at the Millrose Games on Saturday night.

LaShawn ran the 500m in a spectacular 1:01.39 to take first over compatriot Jeshua Anderson in the two-and-a-half-lap event on the short track at The Armory in New York City. Though he fell short of his stated goal to break the world record time of 1:00.17 held by Ken Lowery, LaShawn said that the 500m victory was quite fulfilling a great way to start the 2012 campaign.

"Being a 200m-400m guy and finishing a 500m that strong tells me it's going to be a great season," he told IAAF.org.

Watch the entire race below:

LaShawn said a change in the setup for the race may have been what cost him the record. In his preparation LaShawn was working from the blocks. But at race time he found out the field would be running from a standing start. Because of that tweak, he didn't get the burst out of blocks he wanted because there were no blocks to burst out of.

"I feel like I was just running. I lost my whole strategy," he said. "I had a race plan coming in, and it went out the window. When I came to the line, I was expecting a three-turn stagger and to start out of blocks, and then it was a two-turn break and no blocks. But once I got into it, it went better than I thought. It was fun."

But LaShawn said the changes weren't enough to dampen his spirit after such a crisp finish and solid start to the season, as he told FloTrack.

"Some things happened in the race that I wish didn't happen, but I got through it, I won and I'm pleased," he said. "That last 100 I felt good. I felt like I came home strong and in control. 500 meters is a little longer anyway. But after the race, I feel good and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."

With the help of the guys at FloTrack, LaShawn also gave away his signed spikes from this weekend's race. FloTrack asked fans to login at FloTrack.org and predict LaShawn's time in the 500m. After the event, LaShawn signed the spikes live on camera and handed them over. Watch below for the signing and a special message from LaShawn to all of his fans:

Watch more video of 105th Millrose Games 2012 on flotrack.org

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