Led by gold medals from Allyson Felix, Aries Merritt and Brittney Reese, Team USA won a staggering 7 medals in a 90-minute span at Olympic Stadium Wednesday night, winning three of four possible golds and 7 of 12 possible medals overall.
Team USA’s medal tally now stands at 20 The 11 medals already won by American women is their second-highest Olympic total in history, behind only the boycotted 1984 Games, when American women won 16 medals. It is one more than the 10 won in 1992. Seven medals is the biggest single-day medal haul since the U.S. won nine medals on August 6, 1992, when six finals were contested.
Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.) won gold in the women’s 200 meters, Merritt (Bryan, Texas) took the 110m hurdles and Reese (Gulfport, Miss.) the women’s long jump; Jason Richardson (Los Angeles) won 110m hurdles silver and LaShinda Demus (Palmdale, Calif.) earned her second Olympic silver in the women’s 400m hurdles; winning bronze for the Americans were Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.) in the women’s 200 and Janay Deloach (Ft. Collins, Colo.) in the women’s long jump.
Felix, Jeter deliver in 200
After twice taking the runner-up spot at the Olympic Games, Felix won her first individual Olympic gold to become the most decorated woman in 200m history. At age 26, she now has seven Olympic and World Championship medals in the 200, four of them gold.
Running in lane 7, outside all her top rivals save Jeter, Felix came off the curve with a very slight lead over two-time 100m gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. The strongest finisher in the world, Felix strode home aggressively to win in 21.88. Fraser-Pryce took the silver in 22.09, with Jeter third in 22.14 to become the first American since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988 to win medals in both the 100 and 200 at the Olympics.
Two-time defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica (22.38) and Sanya Richards-Ross (Austin, Texas, 22.39) rounded out a USA-JAM-USA-JAM-USA finish. The two countries each won three medals in the short sprints (100,200) in London.
Merritt, Richardson true to form in 110H
Americans went 1-2 in the men’s 110m hurdles for the first time since 1996. World Indoor champion Aries Merritt has been the top hurdler in the world this year, running 12.93 three meets in a row coming into the Games. In London he broke through that time barrier, running a clear race and leading from start to finish to win in 12.92.
The 2011 World Outdoor champion, Richardson was slightly sluggish out of the blocks but passed world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba over the fourth hurdle to move into second. He finished in 13.04 to win the silver medal, holding off Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, who was third in 13.12. Robles pulled up midway through the race with what appeared to be a leg injury.
Merritt had posted the fastest time in the semifinal round earlier in the night, winning the second heat in 12.94. Richardson all but walked across the finish line to win the first semifinal in 13.13; Jeff Porter (Ann Arbor, Mich.) was fifth in heat 3 in 13.41 and did not advance.
Reese adds Olympics to gold-medal collection
A two-time World Outdoor and two-time World Indoor champion, Reese kept her international dominance going in the long jump, becoming only the third women in history to win all three major international championships.
After fouling on her first attempt, Reese was perfectly on the board with only millimeters to spare on her second jump. She delivered a leap of 7.12m/23-4.25, which put her into first place. The mark was good enough to cement her gold medal spot throughout the competition, with Elena Sokolova of Russia second with 7.07m/23-2.50. Deloach sat in fourth place after four rounds of competition, but on her fifth attempt she leapt into third place with a mark of 6.89m/22-7.25 to win bronze in her first Olympic Games, just 1cm ahead of fourth.
Demus battles for silver
Having struggled with injuries all season and battling back problems in London, Demus ran a composed race in the 400 hurdles. Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer got out well in the outside lane, with Demus and Natalya Antyukh of Russia very close behind. The Russian moved into the lead halfway through and had a stride and a half lead over Demus coming off the penultimate hurdle. The 2008 silver medalist and 2011 world champion, Demus closed hard as both women lunged for the finish. Antyukh won in a personal-best time of 52.70, with Demus second in a season best of 52.77. Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic won bronze in 53.88. Georgeanne Moline (Tucson, Ariz..) finished fifth in a personal-best 53.92, and T’erea Brown (Miami, Fla.) was sixth in 55.07. Demus and Moline ran the fastest second and fifth-place times, respectively, in Olympic history.
Eaton, Hardee stand 1-2 in decathlon
With day 1 complete in the decathlon, Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Ore.) and Trey Hardee (Austin, Texas) stand in first and second place with 4661 and 4441 points, respectively. Wednesday night, Eaton cleared 2.05m/6-6.25in the high jump for 850 points, the second-best clearance in the competition, and ran 46.90 in the 400 for first and 963 points. Hardee high jumped 1.99m/6-6.25 (794 points) and ran 48.11 (904 points) in the 400. Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine is third overall with 4346 points.
For the first time since 2000, Team USA will have two women in the final of the 1500m as Morgan Uceny (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco, Calif.) automatically advanced to the final. Both running in the first heat, Uceny was third in 4:05.34, with Rowbury fifth in 4:05.47. Defending world champion Jenny Simpson was 12th in heat 2 in 4:06.89 and did not advance.
Wallace Spearmon (Dallas, Texas) will be the lone American in the men’s 200m final after running 20.02 to place second in the first semifinal. Isiah Young (Lafayette, Miss.) was eighth in heat 2 in 20.89 and Maurice Mitchell (Tallahassee, Fla.) was fourth in heat 3 (20.56); neither advanced.
In men’s javelin qualifying, Craig Kinsley (Providence, RI) posted the best mark of the day among Americans with his toss of 78.18m/256-6 for 23rd overall; Cyrus Hostetler (Eugene, Ore.) threw 75.76m/248-6 for 32nd and Sean Furey, (San Diego, Calif.) threw 72.81/238-10 for 37th. None will compete in the final.
Team USA Medal Count - 20 total
Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Miss.), WLJ, 7.12m/23-4.25
Aries Merritt (Bryan, Texas), M110H, 12.92
Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.), W200, 21.88
Jenn Suhr (Churchville, N.Y.), WPV, 4.75/15-7
Sanya Richards-Ross (Austin, Texas), W400, 49.55
Jason Richardson (Los Angeles, Calif.), M110H, 13.04
Lashinda Demus (Palmdale, Calif.), W400H, 52.77
Leo Manzano (Austin Texas), M1500, 3:34.79
Dawn Harper (Los Angeles, Calif.), W100H, 12.37
Erik Kynard (Manhattan, Kans.) MHJ, 2.33m/7-7.75
Michael Tinsley (Round Rock, Texas), M400H, 47.91
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.), W100, 10.78
Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.), M10,000m, 27:30.90
Janay DeLoach (Fort Collins, Colo.), WLJ, 6.89/22-7.25
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.), W200, 22.14
Kellie Wells (Orlando, Fla.), W100H, 12.48
Justin Gatlin (Orlando, Fla.) M100, 9.79
DeeDee Trotter (Orlando, Fla.), W400, 49.72
Will Claye (San Diego, Calif.), MLJ, 8.12m/26-7.75
Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.), MSP, 21.23m/69-8
Allyson Felix, 200m: "I was in tears in Beijing, and gosh, complete opposite tonight. For it all to come together is just extremely special, I’m overjoyed. I was just thinking ‘be aggressive.’ It’s the Olympics, anything can happen. Bobby told me ‘go out and get it.’ I knew if I went out and ran my race it would come together. It felt good, I said ‘ thank you Lord.’ It was relief, joy, just a flood of emotions, I don’t think it has all set in yet."
Carmelita Jeter, 200m: "It was a moment, it was definitely a moment. I was just told the last woman to medal in both sprints for the U.S. was Florence Griffith-Joyner, so I am very excited about that. This is my first Olympics and I came out here and ran with every piece of energy and fuel I had. I took it to the track every time I lined up, and when I crossed the finish line today and saw my name on the scoreboard, I knew I made it to the podium, that’s the only thing that mattered to me."
Sanya Richards-Ross, 200m: "It was an amazing opportunity to compete in two events. The more I try it, the more I will get used to it. I really wanted to grab a medal tonight. It was a tough field. These ladies are quick. The double is very challenging. The tough part is no days off and a heavy fatigue factor. It is tough to prepare for."
Aries Merritt, 110m Hurdles: "It means everything to me. I’ve worked really hard for this moment and I’m just happy that it is finally over. It means a lot, to be able to execute at the biggest stage of track and field is nothing short of amazing. I have proven myself finally on the biggest stage of my life, so I can’t be more excited and thrilled."
Jason Richardson, 110m Hurdles: "You don’t train to get second. I’m so happy for Aries. I made a few tactical errors but I didn’t give up. The best man won here today. It is an honor to be part of a race with two American medals. I am very happy for the experience. If I am satisfied with silver then there is no hope for gold, so I will keep that hunger."
Brittney Reese, Long Jump: "I feel great. I wanted to come out and make a statement and that’s exactly what I did. It’s taken a lot, but it’s been fun. I’ve dedicated a lot. It’s a surreal moment. I got very emotional, you do when you are representing your country and you can feel very proud. My mom and aunt are here, so this is a great moment."
Janay Deloach, Long Jump: "It was a matter of just getting on the board and doing what you can and trying to be consistent, and that was what happened. I was consistent, and I wasn’t consistently the best, but it got me a bronze. Words cannot describe how I feel right now, I’m on Cloud 9. I felt so good that I was able to barely get that bronze medal, but barely is a bronze medal, it doesn’t even matter. I got that centimeter and got my bronze medal."
Lashinda Demus, 400m Hurdles: "I can’t explain how bad I wanted a gold. I have been dreaming about it for years. So many people were supporting me. I am grateful I got on the podium. Number two in the world says a lot but number one says a lot more so I won’t stop till I get that. I’m a fighter, I have always been one."
Georgeanne Moline, 400m Hurdles: "I am so excited. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. These girls ran a great race and they helped me run a great race. I ended up with a PR."
T’erea Brown, 400m Hurdles: "It is extremely difficult running with people who run 52, so being in lane 2, i worked my hardest and stayed in there, but at the end of the day I just didn’t have it today. But I’m not disappointed, of course I’m not happy, but the fact that I’m here on my first team ever, first Olympics ever, first final, I’m not disappointed.
Ashton Eaton, Decathlon: "It is decent. I am in good point position. I’m above the other guys. I’ve got solid events tomorrow, so I’m okay with it. Solid all around. I’ve been consistent."
Trey Hardee, Decathlon: "100 was good, it’s the fastest I’ve run in a while. Long jump - we’re missing something this year, don’t know what it is - then my third throw in the shot should have been first, but the day was just littered with a bunch of PRs. I think point-total wise I think I’m ahead of where I was in Daegu and ahead of trials pace, tomorrow is going to be awesome."
Cyrus Hostetler, Javelin: "The competition was better than I thought. I was impressed with how people were throwing. I was disappointed in how I threw but happy to be here. It was a great experience. The atmosphere was great – over and beyond what I expected. I just wish I could have matched it. It’s tough to keep the momentum going from the Trials through the Games. I was a little off today but so happy to be a part of this."
Sean Furey, Javelin: "I just didn’t really execute like I wanted to. I’ve said before that I have a big history of bad technique and under pressure that is the hardest part for me to hold the good technique. And tonight the bad technique came through, so I didn’t use the pressure and the excitement to my advantage."
Craig Kinsley, Javelin: "It is not easy at all, but at the end of the day you are coming down the runway and throwing a javelin, so if you are able to get past the distractions, you should be able to do just fine. The first two throws didn’t go as planned, and I pulled it together on the third throw. But I was looking for a lot more, but I think I did better than my seed. I was coming in ranked 30th and I came in 23rd, so I guess I outperformed where they expected me, but I expected me in the final."
Shannon Rowbury, 1500m: "Much better performance than the first round...I was thinking just to be patient. We’ve been working on speed, so I told myself if I was patient early, I would have something in the end. It is a little hard and a little scary to do that in the race, because if you make that gamble and it doesn’t pay off you’re in trouble, but I’m glad I did."
Jenny Simpson, 1500m: "I’m disappointed only because I know I put in the work, and I know my coach knows I can do better than this. I have no excuse. I’m not hurt, I’m not out of shape. I did a really, really great workout two weeks ago, and it is shame on me for not finishing what I started here."
Wallace Spearmon, 200m: "It’s been awhile since I was in a semi-final. The turn is what I was focused on. It was pretty good for me. I’m happy with my finish."
Isiah Young, 200m: "My expectations were high – I was trying to make the final. Not sure what happened on the turn. I wasn’t nervous at all. I was ready to run. I am happy I ran my best. I wouldn’t go back and change anything."
Maurice Mitchell, 200m: "It was not what I expected. I felt good in the warm-up, but I felt flat in the race. No excuses. I’m happy and thankful for the opportunity to get here."
For more information on the 2012 Olympic Games visit www.usatf.org
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