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The tallest of the world’s top quartermilers, Steven Gardiner

The tallest of the world’s top quartermilers, Steven Gardiner came to track late, but debuted at 50.01Volleyball’s Loss Is The 400’s Gain

May 8, 2020 by Jeff Hollobaugh

THE MEN’S 400 FINAL at the World Championships last fall was stunning to anyone who watched it. It was also, says winner Steven Gardiner, just as stunning to live it.“Honestly, running the race, I didn’t know I was going that fast until I actually watched it over,” says the 24-year-old Bahamian. “My finish was unbelievable. The time really shocked me. It felt comfortable, but also very fast.”Gardiner’s gold medal, won in a national record 43.48 that moved him to No. 6 on the all-time world list (see sidebar), represented a crucial step in his drive to become the Olympic gold medalist in the 1-lapper.One person who wasn’t surprised was his coach, Gainesville-based Gary Evans. “It was in August,” Evans says, “I saw him run the 300 in 31. He started running it consistently and it was getting easier and easier each time. I called his agent and I said, ‘If he doesn’t get injured, we’re gonna win.’ I see what this kid was running. Everybody else, I felt, had peaked already, kinda jumped out there early.”World-ranked for 4 years in a row now, the 6-foot-5 (1.95) former volleyball player didn’t turn to track until just before his 17th birthday. “Volleyball was my favorite sport to play,” he explains. “The transition . . .

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