London 2012 Olympics: Felix shines as Americans get their groove back on track
Allyson Felix finally won an individual Olympic gold medal, gliding home with her effortless stride to take the 200 metres and end the stranglehold of Veronica Campbell-Brown on the event.
Aries Merritt added to the perfect sprint night for the United States, dominating the 110m hurdles final ahead of compatriot Jason Richardson. Behind them, Cuba’s Dayron Robles, the 2008 champion, was smashing a hurdle in frustration after he pulled up with a hamstring injury halfway through the race.
Surprise qualifier Lawrence Clarke of Great Britain was fourth in 13.39secs after compatriot Andrew Turner was knocked out in the semi-finals.
And making for a golden hour for the United States, Brittney Reese added the long jump title soon after to complete a triple for the Americans. Britain’s Shara Proctor could only finish ninth, missing out on the extra three attempts afforded to the top eight, after a best of 6.55m in the first round.
In a race loaded with gold medallists, American Felix was quickest out of the blocks, and once she had her smooth, elegant stride going, none of the power racers on her inside could come close.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica added silver to her 100m gold medal and Carmelita Jeter took bronze.
Campbell-Brown faded out of contention down the stretch and finished fourth, failing – just like pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva did the night before – to become the first woman in track and field to win three gold medals in the same individual event at three consecutive Olympics.
Sanya Richards-Ross, who was seeking a 200m-400m double, fell back into fifth place but was happy that Felix finally got the Olympic gold medal after two silvers.
“She’s had a very good season and definitely deserves this moment,” Richards-Ross said. “She’s just like me, she’s wanted this for a very long time.”
The first gold medal of the evening went to Russia’s Natalya Antyukh in the 400m hurdles, the 31-year-old just holding off America’s Lashinda Demus at the finish.
Antyukh recorded a personal best of 52.70secs to finish just 0.06secs outside the Olympic record held by 2008 champion Melaine Walker, with Demus setting a season’s best of 52.77secs.
Czech Zuzana Hejnova claimed the bronze medal just ahead of Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer.
There was good news for the home nation in the women’s 1,500m, with Lisa Dobriskey and Laura Weightman reaching the final as world silver medallist Hannah England missed out.
Dobriskey, who has made a remarkable return to fitness after being diagnosed with potentially fatal blood clots on her lungs earlier this year, was fourth in the first semi-final to qualify automatically as England finished ninth.
Weightman endured an agonising wait as officials examined a photo finish in the second semi before going through as one of the two fastest losers in a new personal best of 4:02.99.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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