Alexa

Campbell-Brown extends Olympic sprint sweep

Campbell-Brown extends Olympic sprint sweep

At an Olympics where everything the Jamaican sprinters grab is gold, the Americans can't even hold on to a baton.
Veronica Campbell-Brown extended Jamaica's golden wipeout with a victory in the 200 meters Thursday before the United States finished off their great sprint debacle with two botched relays.
It meant the United States was shut out of the sprint races for the first time in a century at an Olympics they did not boycott.
In three hours of attrition at the Bird's Nest, all U.S. favorites were beaten on the wet track Thursday, from Allyson Felix to Jeremy Wariner and its vaunted sprint relay teams.
Wariner had not lost a major championship race since he won the 400 at the 2004 Athens Games. But at the games, he ran out of steam when it counted and was beaten on the final straightaway by compatriot LaShawn Merritt. Without heart, he even stopped trying over the final meters.
"I didn't have anything left. I don't know what to say," Wariner said.
Only one conclusion was left for a team which had touted itself as perhaps the best ever.
"The whole games haven't gone quite as planned," said Lauryn Williams, who could not get her hand on the baton on the anchor leg.
As favorites go, only Cuban world record-holder Dayron Robles stuck to the plan, easily winning the 110 hurdles in the absence of defending champion Liu Xiang of China.
If Wariner pulled up short, at least Felix gave her best in the 200, even if she came up short. Campbell-Brown made up all ground in the first dozen meters and was clear coming into the final straight, capping the first sweep of the four 100 and 200s since the United States did it in 1988.
Unlike her freewheeling compatriot Usain Bolt, Campbell-Brown remained focused up to the finish line, but the result was the same _ another gold way ahead of the struggling Americans.
"Bolt set it off. After that, I just think the Jamaican camp went crazy," said Kerron Stewart, who finished third to give Jamaica another medal.
In all sprint events, it is Jamaica 4, United States 0. Jamaica can still win the two relays, but the United States will stay stuck at zero for sure.
Within a half hour, the men's and women's teams both dropped the batons on the wet track at the Bird's Nest in heats they would have easily qualified from.
The anchor runners, Tyson Gay and Williams, blindly held their hands out, hoping to feel that elusive baton. But inexplicably, the third-leg runners could not get it there.
"I went to grab it and there was nothing," said Gay, who came into the games as a double gold favorite but came away empty-handed. "It's kind of the way it's been happening to me this Olympics.
"I take full blame for it," Gay added. "I kind of feel I let them down."
Instead, Campbell-Brown came back to the track less than an hour after winning her 200 to anchor Jamaica to another easy victory for a place in Saturday's final.
No sweat, despite running the fastest time in a decade to win her fifth Olympic medal overall with a time of 21.74 seconds.
She now has five Olympic medals, and, at 26, can still aspire to go to the London Games.
"I have four more years. If I can stay like this, I just have to train hard," Campbell-Brown said.
Much like the whole American sprint team, Felix had an awful start and never got close to the surging Jamaican. Instead, she had to work hard to finish in 21.93 and beat Kerron Stewart by .07 seconds. After silver in the 100, it was bronze for Stewart in the 200.
It was the same 1-2 finish as in Athens.
"Deja vu, and not in a good way," Felix said, choking back tears.
Just after Campbell-Brown won, Bolt went on the victory stand to receive his second gold, which he set with a second world record in the 200 late Wednesday. It all added to the Jamaican party scene.
Campbell-Brown, though, is a study in contrast with the showboating Bolt. Calmly focusing ahead, she barely lifted her arms in recognition when she was announced as the defending champion. The lack of smile belied her composure, and it showed with her low-flung bullet start, as she kicked her golden shoes past everyone else. When she crossed the line, she looked up in relief, then clasped her hands in a prayer as Felix leaned over to hug her.
And the reggae came cascading down stands of the Bird's Nest again, with 91,000 fans celebrating another great evening.
With another title, the Caribbean island nation of 2.8 million rejoined Russia at the top of the medal stands with five golds. The United States was third with four, but had 20 medals overall.
It wasn't only the Jamaican sprinters that amazed the crowd.
Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic sank to her knees in disbelief, clasping her hands to her head, when her last attempt in the javelin produced the fourth farthest throw in history and gave her gold.
She threw a European record of 71.42 meters to pass Maria Abakumova of Russia, who had already improved the continental record to 70.78 meters.
Earlier, Olga Kaniskina walked to gold in a driving rain that hampered even the best of Olympic athletes.
After a week of clear and warm conditions, a downpour over the Olympic Green cooled things down for the 20-kilometer walk and Kaniskina responded with an Olympic record.
Bryan Clay of the United States got off to a strong start to take an early lead in the Olympic decathlon. The final five events are set for Friday.


Updated : 2020-11-30 04:41 GMT+08:00