IT SEEMS thatGail Devers has found the secret to prolonging her stellar career: give birth,take two years off, turn 40. Simple. Last Friday night Devers, winner of threeOlympic gold medals, burst back into the track spotlight with an unexpectedvictory in the 60-meter hurdles at the 100th Millrose Games. "Peoplethought I went away," said Devers after the race. "I always knew Icould come back."
Devers hadscarcely been seen on the international stage since failing to finish her heatof the 100-meter hurdles at the 2004 Olympics. On June 20, 2005, Devers gavebirth to daughter Karsen and took six months off. She returned for a cameo atthe '06 Millrose Games but ran a plodding 8.13. Her time of 7.86 seconds atthis year's Millrose was the best in the world in the current indoor seasonuntil Sweden's Susanna Kallur ran 7.85 one day later.
Devers had alwaysbeen plagued by injuries. Reporters asking, "How are you?" could expecta response that sounded like dialogue from ER. Now she says she is healthy."The best healing," she says, "is time off." She trains inAtlanta with Danielle Carruthers, 27, whom Devers also coaches. Devers won'tcommit to a long-term schedule, but every race is an audition. She is runningwithout a major apparel or shoe sponsor and looking to make a deal that wouldenable her to brand her own logo on products.
FRANK FRANKLIN II/AP (DEVERS)
GETTING BETTER Devers improved on her 2006 Millrose time by more than a quarter of a second.