The USA turned the tables on Jamaica today by capturing valuable medals in the sprints: gold and bronze in the women’s 200m, gold and silver in the men’s 110m hurdles.
Billed as a cracker in which speed would battle strength, the race was stacked solid with heavyweights Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), the 2008 Olympic champion and 2011 World champion, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion; USA’s Allyson Felix, three-time World 200m champion and Carmelita Jeter, 2011 World 100m champion and 2012 100m silver medalist; and Sanya Richards-Ross, the 2011 World and 2012 400m champion.
Coming off the curve in lane 7 on par with Fraser-Pryce (4) and VCB (5), the long-legged Felix used her 400m strength to outrun all challengers and prevail as Olympic champion for the first time in 21.88ses (-0.2 m/s). Fraser-Pryce faded close to the end for the silver in a personal best 22.09. Running in lane 9, Jeter earned the bronze in 22.14.
While Fraser-Pryce was doubling at this level for the first time and noted that it was the “hardest double” she has had to do, former sprint queen VCB failed to win a 200m medal in the Olympics for the first time since 2004, when she copped gold., She defeated Felix for the gold in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. The 30-yr-old sprint-double and relay specialist, who lacked speed endurance going into the Games, said after the race that it “it has been a rough few weeks for me,” but she refused to elaborate.
Men’s High Hurdles
In the absence of China’s former world record holder Liu Xiang, who crashed out of his heat injured, and with the aborted effort in the final of Cuba’s world record holder and 2008 Olympic champion Dayron Robles, who hit a hurdle and pulled up clutching a hamstring, there was no surprise winner in the men’s sprint hurdles in which Americans Aries Merritt, ranked No. 1 in the world this year, and Jason Richardson took gold and silver in 12.92 (personal best) and 13.04 (-0.3 m/s), respectively.
However, Jamaica had a big moment to cheer about when 22-year-old World University Games champion Hansle Parchment drove from behind to take bronze in a new Jamaica record of 13.12. The Jamaican national champion, who has been improving all season long, first lowered the Jamaica record in the heats to 13.14.
Competing in the Olympics for the first time, the University of the West Indies student noted that as he lined up for the final he tried not to panic so he could clear the barriers easily. He is the first Jamaican to win an Olympic medal in the event.