LONDON, England - Three Gator track & field athletes advanced on the first day of competition at Olympic Stadium on Friday, highlighting a full lineup of Florida athletes, past and present, representing their countries and the Gator Nation over the course of the London Games.
Kerron Clement (U.S.A.) finished second in his heat and second overall in the men's 400-meter hurdles, automatically advancing to Saturday's semifinals at 2 p.m. ET. The 2008 Olympic silver medalist turned in a season's best time of 48.48 in the fourth heat of the day to solidify his spot in the semifinals.
"(The race) was good," Clement said. "It is a very fast track. I just came out here focused on myself, focused on my steps. I've had a rather interesting season; I've had a few races under my belt, so I'm just happy to make my second Olympic team and just running really well at the Olympics."
Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica) won her heat and finished sixth overall in the women's 400 meters to advance to Saturday's semifinals. Williams-Mills finished in 50.88 and will compete at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Will Claye (U.S.A.) finished eighth overall in the qualification round of the men's long jump on Friday, leaping 7.99m/26-2.75 (-0.7) to finish sixth in his flight. Claye will compete in the finals of the men's long jump on Saturday at 2:55 p.m. ET, the first track & field final for the Gators at the London Games.
Kemal Mesic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) was the first Gator to compete in track & field at the 2012 Olympic Games on Friday. Mesic finished 12th in his flight and 24th overall in the men's shot put with a mark of 19.60m/64-3.75.
Joining Claye, Clement and Williams-Mills in competition on Saturday will be Genevieve LaCaze (Australia, 3,000m steeplechase) and Tony McQuay (U.S.A., 400m). LaCaze will race in the first heat of Round 1 of the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase (6:35 a.m. ET) and McQuay will line up in the fifth heat of Round 1 of the men's 400 meters (5:35 a.m. ET) on Saturday.