LaShawn Merritt punctuated a terrific 2016 season in style, winning the 400m title in Zurich to clinch the 400m Diamond League championship.
The American sprinter executed a clean sweep, winning all four of his 400m Diamond League appearances at Doha, Rabat, Lausanne and finally Zurich to seal the deal.
“It’s been one long season. I’ve been running a lot, but I really wanted to win this Diamond League final, so I could get that bye our championships next year. I’m definitely tired, but I gave that last one all I had and I finished up healthy,” LaShawn said. “The season didn’t go the way I wanted it to go, as far as winning the Olympics, but I’ll take what I got.”
LaShawn let his experience show in the Zurich final. The Nike sprinter faced a late charge from Bralon Taplin of Grenada, but he did just enough to edge him at the line for the win.
That wrapped up a strong campaign for LaShawn. He competed in three events in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, taking home bronze in the 400m and a sixth-place finish in the 200m final before anchoring a dominant gold medal effort by Team USA in the 4x400m.
After his triumph in Zurich, he looked ahead at next season, and potentially peppering in more work on his 200m for the upcoming campaign.
“The 200 just happened this year. It wasn’t in the plans in the beginning of the season. We didn’t really train for it, it was just that I ran fast early on,” LaShawn said. “My team said, you might as well. But I think I can definitely run faster than 19.7 in the 200. So next year I may give it some extra training. We’ll see.”
In the meantime, after a hectic season, the Virginia native is looking forward to some much-deserved rest.
“I’m ready to go home, have a barbecue, see my nieces and nephews, spend some time with my parents and my family,” he said.