Carmelita Jeter was the world’s fastest woman in the 100 early and late in the 2009 season. After a strong spring, Jeter won her first U.S. championship in June (10.78 seconds, with a 3.3 meters-per-second wind) but settled for her second consecutive 100-meter bronze medal at the World Outdoor Championships (10.90). She caught fire in September, running a 10.67 at the World Athletics Final and following it up with a 10.64 performance at the Shanghai Grand Prix a week later, making her the second fastest woman of all time (Florence Griffith-Joyner was faster than 10.64 three times, including her world record of 10.49).
While Jeter didn’t make the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, she has run in two World Championships. She finished third at the U.S. Championships in 2007 to earn her first World Outdoor Championship bid. She performed her best when it counted most in Osaka, getting a fast start in the final and running a then-personal best 11.02 to earn a World Championship bronze medal. She’s said that she looks at her medal every morning and evening to help give her motivation.
Better late than never:
Jeter was a late bloomer by sprint standards. She began running track at the suggestion of her high school basketball coach. She was a six-time All-American at Cal State Dominguez, where she twice finished second in the NCAA Division II 100-meter finals. She was troubled by hamstring injuries for much of 2003-05, finally overcoming the maladies via deep tissue massage. Jeter finally entered the world stage at age 27, running a then-personal best 11.05 to finish fourth at the adidas Track Classic in 2007. Working with new coach John Smith, she lowered her 100-meter personal best from 10.97 to 10.64 in 2009.
Other career highlights:
Jeter won gold medals at the 2007 and 2009 World Athletic Final. She finished second in the 60-meter run at the U.S. Indoor Championships in 2007 and twice placed third in the 200 at the NCAA Division II Championships.
- Height: 5-4
- Weight: 116
- Birth date: Nov. 24, 1979
- Hometown: Gardena, California
- Personal best: 7.11 (60 meters); 10.64 (100); 22.47 (200).