London fans witnessed some fast hurdles events and even faster relays, as the United States and Jamaica broke world records in the women's and men's 4 x 100-meter relays, respectively. American Allyson Felix
was the individual relay star, winning gold medals in both relays to go along with her individual title in the 200 meters.
Women's 4 x 100-Meter Relay:
The United States gained a Olympic sprinting victory over Jamaica and shattered a 27-year-old world record by winning the women’s 4 x 100 relay in 40.82 seconds. Jamaica appeared to have an edge on paper over first three legs of the race, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce running first and Veronica Campbell-Brown third. But when American anchor Carmelita Jeter took the baton in first place, there was nothing Jamaica could do. Jeter extended the U.S. lead and powered home to break the previous record of 41.37 set by East Germany. Tianna Madison led off for the U.S. and matched Fraser-Pryce. Felix ran second for the Americans and Bianca Knight third. Jamaica finished second in a national record 41.41 while Ukraine also set a national best, taking third in 42.04.
Men's 4 x 100-Meter Relay:
The Jamaican 4 x 100 sprinters closed the track portion of Olympic track and field competition with the fourth world record of the London Games, powering to victory in 36.84 seconds. The U.S. matched the previous world record time, set by Jamaica at the 2011 World Championships, taking second in 37.04. The Americans enjoyed narrow leads on the first two legs, with Trell Kimmons and Justin Gatlin running for the U.S. in Lane 7 against Jamaica's 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. Once Usain Bolt
received the baton ahead of American anchor Ryan Bailey, the only remaining question 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.
Women's 4 x 400-Meter Relay:
The American women completed their relay sweep by winning the 4 x 400-meter event decisively, in 3:16.87. Deedee Trotter built a strong lead on the opening leg and the U.S. was never challenged. Felix, running the second leg, earned her third gold medal of the Games. Francena McCorory ran the third leg and 400-meter individual gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross was the anchor. Russia was second in 3:20.23 and Jamaica third in 3:20.95.
Men's 4 x 400-Meter Relay:
The absence of the injured LaShawn Merritt
almost certainly cost the Americans the men’s 4 x 400 relay gold. The Bahamas, with 400-meter finalists Chris Brown and Demetrius Pinder running the first two legs, led after 800 meters. Bryshon Nellum and Joshua Mance had the U.S. in second after two legs, then 400-meter finalist Tony McQuay burst past Michael Mathieu and handed the baton to Angelo Taylor in first place. The American led until the home stretch, when Ramon Miller ran him down to take the gold for the Bahamas in 2:56.72. The U.S. gained the silver (2:57.05) while Trinidad and Tobago got the bronze (2:59.40).
Men's 400-Meter Hurdles:
Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, who turned 34 shortly after the Olympics ended, was one of London's more surprising gold medalists. The American-born Sanchez previously dominated world 400-meter hurdles competition from 2001-04, winning two World championships and the 2004 Olympic gold medal. Since then he’d earned just one major championship medal, a silver at the 2007 World Championships. Additionally, Sanchez entered the Olympics well down on the 400-meter charts with a season-best of 48.56. But he won his semifinal heat in 47.76 seconds, then took the final in 47.63. American Michael Tinsley rallied down the stretch to earn the silver medal in a personal best 47.91, while pre-Olympic favorite Javier Culson of Puerto Rico was third in 48.10.
Women's 400-Meter Hurdles:
The women’s 400-meter hurdles final was a contest between Russia’s Natalya Antyukh, the season leader, and 2011 World champion Lashinda Demus of the U.S. Demus enjoyed a good start, but Antyukh took the lead midway through and was pulling away when she stutter-stepped over the final hurdle, losing some momentum and opening the door slightly. Demus rallied and almost ran the Russian down, but Antyukh held on to win in a personal best 52.70. Demus finished in 52.77, while Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic took third in 53.38.
Men's 110-Meter Hurdles:
Aries Merritt entered the Olympics with a string of 12.93-second performances, making him the solid favorite in the 110-meter hurdles. Merritt didn’t let the Olympic pressure deflect his momentum as he captured the gold in a personal best time of 12.92. The American, who won his semifinal in 12.94 earlier in the evening, was a stride ahead of the field by the midway point and wasn’t going to be caught. Jason Richardson was second in 13.04, giving the U.S. a 1-2 finish, while Hansle Parchment was third in a Jamaican record 13.12. Defending champion Dayron Robles was in position to contend for a medal early in the race, but had to drop out with an injury.
Women's 100-Meter Hurdles:
, who’d dominated the 100-meter hurdles for the previous year, overcame a strong challenge from defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper of the U.S. to win the gold medal in an Olympic record 12.35 seconds. The Australian ran a world-leading 12.39 in the semifinal earlier in the evening, but had to do better in the final to edge Harper. The American ran a personal best 12.46 to win her semifinal, then lowered her mark to 12.37 in the final – .17 faster than her 2008 Olympic-winning time – but it wasn’t quite enough to beat Pearson, who led from the start and maintained a slim edge all the way. Americans took the next two spots as Kellie Wells ran a personal best 12.48 to earn the bronze medal while Lolo Jones was fourth in 12.58.
Return to the 2012 Olympics main page.