Olympic bronze medallist Walter Dix pipped Justin Gatlin by a hundredth of a second in the 100 metres at the U.S. world trials on Friday following Tyson Gay's shock withdrawal due to injury.
Gatlin, on the comeback trail after serving a four-year doping ban, was reeled in over the closing metres by the lower-profile Dix who recorded a time of 9.94 seconds.
"I just let it rip," said Dix, who won bronze medals in both the 100 and 200m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where Jamaican Usain Bolt ripped up the record books.
An emotional Gatlin, banned from 2006-10 because of a doping offence, cried tears of joy after crossing the line.
"For the last four years I have had so much pent-up frustration, sadness, so much emotion, anger, (that) before the finish line I let it all out," said the 29-year-old, a former Olympic and world champion. "I thought I won."
Mike Rodgers clocked 9.99 seconds to complete the U.S. 100m trio for the world championships after Gay, American record holder and the world's second-fastest man of all-time, withdrew before the semi-final, citing painful problems with his right hip and adductor.
Gay, whose agent also confirmed he would not compete in the 200m trials, is left with only a possible berth in the 4x100m relay for the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, should he recover in time for the trials.
"It is a big blow," said Dix of the loss of Gay, the 2007 world 100 and 200 metres champion.
In contrast to the men's tightly-contested sprint, top-ranked Carmelita Jeter blew away the field in the women's 100m with a wind-assisted 10.74 seconds, nearly a tenth of a second faster than runner-up Marshevet Myers. Miki Barber was third.
Young Ashton Eaton dominated the decathlon, taking the title with a lifetime best 8,729 points. Runner-up Jon Harlan also made the team with the third berth still up for grabs.
Among those in the running is Olympic champion Bryan Clay, who pulled out of the decathlon on Friday after straining a calf muscle in the 110m high hurdles.
Three-times 200m world champion Allyson Felix continued her quest for a 400m national title by qualifying for Saturday's final in the fourth-fastest time of the day.
Francena McCorory topped the semi-finals with a time of 50.77 seconds.
The 400m world champion Sanya Richards-Ross pulled out of the distance but will run the 200m trial as she, like Felix, contemplates a 200/400 double in Daegu.
U.S. record holder David Oliver had little trouble in the 110m hurdles, winning his preliminary in 13.08.
The trials continue on Sunday.
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