27-year-old 4x100m record finally crashed

2012-08-11 19:46

American relay team sets new world standard. The 5 000m title remains with the Ethiopians

Ethiopian Meseret Defar dashed compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba’s dreams of another long-distance double by regaining her 5 000m title and an inspired US women’s 4x100 relay team shredded a 27-year-old world record on Friday.

Defar pulled away from her tired rival to triumph eight years after taking gold in Athens, Greece in 2004, crossing the line with her arms in the air before kissing a religious picture she had carried in her top and falling to the track in tears.

Dibaba, who took double gold in Beijing, China in 2008, and successfully defended her 10 000m title on the opening day of the athletics competition, had to settle for bronze.

A day after Kenyan David Rudisha’s blistering 800m world record, another full house at the London Olympic stadium was treated to a world relay best as the US, anchored by Carmelita Jeter, scorched to gold.

The American quartet of Jeter, Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix and Bianca Knight clocked 40.82 seconds to win the title back for the first time since 1996 at home in Atlanta, Georgia, smashing East Germany’s world record which had stood since 1985.

“It is a relief, it is a joy. It is everything,” Olympic 200m champion Felix said. “It is the most comfortable that I have seen this team.

“We were laughing, we were smiling . . . we have never been like that.”

The US, who failed to get a man into the individual 400m final, were denied a second relay triumph in quick succession when the Bahamas celebrated their thrilling first men’s track-and-field Olympic gold in the men’s 4x400 final.

Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie soared over 5.97m, an Olympic record, to take pole vault victory while two golds were won by former dopers – Asli Cakir Alptekin of Turkey in an eventful women’s 1 500m and Russia’s Tatyana Lysenko in the women’s hammer.

There was drama in the 1 500m where luckless American Morgan Uceny fell again in a championship final, having tumbled in last year’s IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Uceny toppled over soon after the bell and, unable to comprehend her bad luck, beat her fists in frustration on the track where she remained, resting on her knees with her shoulders hunched, until after the race had finished.

Turkey took gold and silver with Alptekin, who served a two-year ban for doping after testing positive in 2004, edging out Gamze Bulut in a tactical race.

There was no fairytale medal for South Africa’s Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius as he said goodbye to his first Olympic Games before heading to the Paralympics.

South Africa, reinstated into the 4x100 final on appeal, trailed in last of the eight finishers.

“This whole experience has been phenomenal, to step out here for an Olympic final is more than I could ever hope for,” said double-amputee Pistorius, who reached the semifinals of the individual 400m and ran the anchor leg on Friday. 

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