Third time lucky for Felix
America’s Allyson Felix made it third time lucky to win the Olympic 200m crown in London yesterday and deny Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce a sprint double.
Felix, a silver medallist at the 2004 and 2008 Games over the distance, powered to victory in 21.88sec to thwart Fraser-Pryce’s hopes of adding the 200m title to her newly acquired 100m crown.
Fraser-Pryce took silver in 22.09sec with Carmelita Jeter, of the United States, winning bronze in 22.14sec.
Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown – chasing a historic third consecutive Olympic 200m gold after pipping Felix at the two previous games – was fourth in a time of 22.38sec.
Felix, 26, looked smooth throughout, coming off the bend with a significant lead and holding her nerve in the home stretch to win a long-overdue first gold.
She is a three-time world champion over 200m but could only manage bronze at last year’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
But Felix came into the Olympics in top form having clocked the fastest time in the world this year, running 21.69 seconds at the US Olympic trials.
America’s Sanya Richards-Ross, aiming to complete a rare 200m-400m double in London after winning the 400m earlier in the Games, finished fifth in 22.39sec.
Felix’s victory is America’s first gold in the event since 1992, when Gwen Torrence won in Barcelona and is a rare recent success in the battle against sprinting powerhouse Jamaica.
The United States, formerly the undisputed kings of sprinting, have been forced to watch as the Caribbean island of Jamaica have stolen their mantle.
Later in the evening, Aries Merritt led a US one-two in the men’s Olympic 110m hurdles as Cuba’s defending champion Dayron Robles pulled up injured halfway through the race.
Merritt, the fastest hurdler in the world this season, clocked a personal best of 12.92sec, the second fastest time in Olympic history.
His time beat the 12.93sec that the American has run three times this year and the 12.94sec he timed in the semis.
Merritt’s US team-mate Jason Richardson, the shock world champion from last year in Daegu, claimed silver in 13.04sec, while Jamaican Hansle Parchment took a surprise bronze in a new national record of 13.12sec.
Brittney Reese then rounded up a fine day for the US in track and field when she won the long jump with a best of 7.12 metres.
The two-time world champion finished ahead of Russian Elena Sokolova, who claimed silver with a personal best of 7.07m, with American Janay Deloach taking bronze with 6.89m.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Natalya Antyukh won the women’s 400 metres hurdles Olympic.
The 31-year-old – Olympic bronze medallist in the flat 400 metres in 2004 – won in a personal best of 52.70sec ahead of American world champion Lashinda Demus (52.77) with Czech Zuzana Hejnova taking bronze in 53.38sec.
Antyukh is only the second Russian in history to win the event after Irina Privalova in Sydney in 2000.
Usain Bolt stayed on track for an Olympic sprint double as he and Jamaican rival Yohan Blake eased into today’s final of the 200m with commanding runs in their semi-finals last night.
Blake strolled to victory in his heat in 20.01sec but eased up before the line, while 100m champion Bolt was imperious as he held off the field to win his race in 20.18sec, looking around all the way down the home straight.
“It was all about going through as easy as possible, that was the aim. I did pretty well so I am happy,” Bolt said.
He said there was “no doubt whatsoever” that he would successfully defend the crown he won in Beijing four years ago.
“People always doubt the champion but I know what I can do so I never doubt myself. This is my favourite event so I am looking forward to it.”
Churandy Martina, of the Netherlands, won the third semi-final in a time of 20.17sec, with a third Jamaican, Warren Weir, qualifying behind him.
Wallace Spearmon will be the only US athlete in the final after he finished second behind Blake in 20.02sec.