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America advances 3 athletes into finals of 400 hurdles

Bershawn Jackson left in a huff and teammate Derrick Jackson exited on a stretcher.

It was a sight James Carter won't soon forget as the U.S. advanced three athletes into the finals of the 400 hurdles during the track and field world championships Sunday.

Kerron Clement, Carter and Williams all earned spots in the finals, which will be held Tuesday.

Jackson, the reigning world champion, will have to watch from the sideline after clipping the last hurdle and failing to qualify.

Wearing a full-length body suit for the race despite the muggy weather, Jackson stormed away in frustration after its conclusion.

"It's track. Anything can happen - and it just did," Carter said. "This is surprising. It's a shocker."

Carter was just talking about America's chances of placing three on the podium when everything turned chaotic.

"I think they're good," he said. "As long as ... "

He stopped mid-sentence as he watched Jackson on a television stumble over the final hurdle and fail to earn a spot out of his heat.

"Ohhhh," Carter said as he watched.

Seconds later, just behind Carter in an interview area, Williams, who'd run in the same race as Carter, passed out on the floor from the heat. Medical personnel called for a stretcher and he was helped out of the area.

Carter later said he thought Williams would be fine.

"The humidity is (hurting) a lot of people," Carter said of Williams' heat episode. "But making it to the finals is going to help him get back on his feet. I'm happy for him."

But Carter didn't know what to say to Jackson. Not now at least. Carter figured it was best to leave him alone.

"That's what I'd want," he said. "What can you say?"

Clement, a two-time U.S. champion, earned a place in the finals by winning his heat. He said he had some work to do - particularly at the end of the race - if he wanted to challenge for the crown.

"I've always had a problem with," that, he said. "Once I iron out those last few things, I'll be fine."

Just before he fell to the ground, Williams stopped and talked about his performance. Williams was one of the front-runners most of the way until he faded down the stretch.

"I was doing fine until my legs locked up in the end," Williams said. "I gave it all I got."

Carter has been living under the shadows of Jackson and Clement. He's hoping he will start to emerge. Carter recently won the U.S. championship.

"Hopefully, this is my year," said Carter, who took second at worlds in 2005. "But it's going to take a great race, maybe even a personal best."

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