The Jamaican 4 x 100-meter relay sprinters closed the track portion of Olympic track and field competition with the fourth world record of the London Games Saturday evening, powering to victory in 36.84 seconds. The United States matched the previous world record time, set by Jamaica at last year's World Championships, taking second in 37.04. The U.S. enjoyed narrow early leads on the first two legs, with Trell Kimmons and Justin Gatlin running for the U.S. in Lane 7 against Nesta Carter and Michael Frater in Lane 6. Tyson Gay took the baton for the U.S. for the third leg, but Jamaica's Yohan Blake was a bit faster on the inside. Then, once Usain Bolt received the baton ahead of American anchor Ryan Bailey, the only question remaining was whether Jamaica would break the world mark, which Bolt answered a few seconds later. Canada was disqualified after being originally credited with third, leaving the bronze to Trinidad and Tobago in 38.12.
Earlier, the American women completed their relay sweep by winning the 4 x 400-meter event decisively, in 3:16.87. Deedee Trotter got the U.S. off to a strong lead and the U.S. was never challenged. Allyson Felix, running the second leg, earned her third gold medal of the Games, including participation in both of the victorious U.S. relay teams. Francena McCorory ran the third leg and 400-meter gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross was the anchor. Russia was second in 3:20.23 and Jamaica third in 3:20.95.
Russia earned four gold medals Saturday, including two in the race walking events earlier in the day, followed by two more in the evening. Russia's Anna Chicherova pretty much wrapped her high jump gold after clearing 2.03 (6 feet, 7¾ inches) on her first attempt, but she put an exclamation point on her performance by topping 2.05/6-8¾ on her second try. American Brigetta Barrett cleared her final three heights on the second attempt, including a personal best clearance of 2.03, while Russia's Svetlana Shkolina, who was clean through 2.00/6-6¾, topped a personal best 2.03 on her third try to solidify her bronze medal. Both Barrett and Shkolina missed three times at 2.05.
The other Russian champion of the session, Mariya Savinova, entered the final turn of the women's 800 meters in fifth place, but left the bend in first on her way to victory in 1:56.19. American Alysia Johnson Montano set the early pace, but Kenya's defending champion, Pamela Jelimo, moved ahead early in the final lap and held the spot until Savinova ran her down. The Montano and Jelimo eventually dropped to fifth and fourth, respectively. South Africa's Caster Semenya charged hard from the back but timed her move too late and had to settle for silver in 1:57.23, while Russia's Ekaterina Poistogova placed third in a personal best 1:57.53.
Great Britain's Mo Farah earned the eighth men's 5000-10,000 double in Olympic history by fighting off all comers on the last lap. The runners remained in a tight bunch for most of the slow-paced race before Farah moved in front midway through the penultimate lap. After the bell, Kenya's Thomas Longosiwa came up on Farah's right shoulder, with Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco on the Kenyan's shoulder. But neither they nor the late-charging Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia could catch Farah, who was too fast down the stretch. Farah's time of 13:41.66 was the slowest Olympic winning time since 1968, due to the slow early pace. Gebremeskel took the silver in 13:41.98, with Longosiwa hanging on for third in 13:42.36.
The form charts weren't of much use in the men's javelin final, as neither the season's leaders nor two-time defending champion Andreas Thorkildsen could match the surprising performance of Keshern Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago. The 19-year-old, who won the World Junior championship in July, entered London with a personal best of 82.83/271-9. Walcott proceeded to beat that mark in the first and second rounds, topping out at 84.58/277-5 on his second try to win the gold medal with a new national record. Ukraine's Oleksandr Pyatnytsya reached 84.51/277-3 in the third round to take second while Antti Ruuskanen of Finland threw 84.12/275-11 in the fifth round for the bronze.
Olympic track and field concludes with the men's marathon Sunday morning.