OLYMPICS: World record for Bolt and Jamaica again
By Gary Smith
BEIJING, China, August 22, 2008 - After Usain Bolt ran 9.76second in Kingston in May, Asafa Powell made a promise that Jamaica would break the world record in the sprint, and guess what? He was right on target.
In front of a packed Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, Friday night, Bolt collected his third gold medal at the Olympic Games when Jamaica, anchored by former world record holder and ‘Mr. predictable’ himself, Powell, won gold in the men's 4x100m relay in World record fashion.
The women's team, however, did not have the same fortune as they failed to finish a race in which they were tipped to win the gold medal.
Total dominance from start to finish
The quartet of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Bolt and Powell, were unstoppable on the night, as Jamaica blasted to a new world record of 37.10seconds, shattering the old mark of 37.40, previously held by USA.
Carter and Frater set things up for the Jamaicans on the first two legs, and although Bolt did not have the best third leg, his change with Powell, who powered home superbly, though a bit shabby, helped the Jamaicans men to their first ever Olympic 4x100m crown.
Bolt, who said he did not want the Jamaicans to break the world record in the heats, raced down the track immediately to celebrate with Powell, who he described as his very good friend.
"I asked the guys for it and they said 'yes, we're going out there to do it'. I'm just happy and grateful because we worked hard for it," Bolt told BBC Sports after the race.
It was double joy for the Caribbean as 100m silver medallist Richard Thompson anchored Trinidad & Tobago to second place in 38.06sec. Japan ran 38.15 to take the bronze.
Jamaica’s victory margin of 0.96 was the widest margin in the Olympic history, since 1936.
Poor passing cost Jamaicans
Earlier, the Jamaican defending champion women's team, who were firmly placed to add another gold medal to their collection at these Games, failed to complete the pass on the third leg between Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson and crashed out in the finals.
Russia went on the take the gold in 42.31 to beat Belgium (42.54) and Nigeria (43.05).
Campbell-Brown retains 200m title
Meanwhile, on Thurday, Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica clocked a splendid 21.74-seconds to defend her Olympic 200-metres title in glorious fashion, as Jamaica extended their dominance in the sprints in Beijing.
Coming into the event the it was expected to be a close head-to-head clash between Campbell-Brown and American two-time world champion, Allyson Felix.
However, the Jamaican turned the tables on her American arch rival with a super performance that saw her run away comfortably with her second Olympic 200m title. Felix was left trailing after the first 100m, but showed composure in finishing strong for the silver in 21.93.
Jamaica continued their good showing in the sprints when the Caribbean island snatched another medal at these Games -- Kerron Stewart won the bronze medal after out-leaning American Muna Lee in 22.00 to 22.01.
A tired looking Sherone Simpson of Jamaica finished sixth in 22.36, while Bahamian Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (22.61) and Cayman Islands' Cydonie Mothersill (22.68) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
Robles simply the best
With defending champion and former world record holder Liu Xiang of China bowing out of these Games after just three strides because of an injury in the heats, Cuba's Dayron Robles seemed to be racing against the clock for the men's 110m hurdles title.
As expected, the 21-year-old did not disappoint. Although he did not run faster than his 12.87seconds world record, Robles still posted a fast time, 12.93secs to easily win the event and put his World Indoor miseries behind him. He just missed breaking Liu's Olympic record of 12.91.
Following him home were Americans David Payne (13.17) and David Oliver (13.18). The Jamaican duo of Maurice Wignall and Richard Phillips posted times of 13.46 and 13.60 for six and seventh, respectively.
Wariner upset, Brown just missed medal
Meanwhile, in a shocking result in the men's 400m, defending champion and pre-race favourite Jeremy Wariner was upset by his fellow American compatriot LaShawn Merritt.
Merritt came off the corner with a slight lead, but surprisingly widened the gap to win in 43.75. Wariner trailed home second in 44.74. Americans swept the event, as David Neville, 44.80, dived across the line to finish just behind Wariner for bronze.
Bahamian Chris Brown, a favourite at the start of the Olympics to win a medal, just finished outside the medals. His time of 44.84 placed him fourth. Trinidad's former World Junior champion Renny Quow took seventh in 45.22.
The Caribbean also snatched a medal in the men's Triple Jump through Bahamian Leevan Sands, whose third round effort of 17.59m earned him a bronze medal and a new national record.
Caribbean teams make 4x400m finals
Jamaica's men's and women's 4x400m relay teams moved into Saturday's finals, as the Caribbean team look to finish off their splendid Games with more medals.
On the women's side, the Jamaicans, running without two of their quicker quarter-milers, finished a close second to USA in 3:22.60secs. The Americans, also running without a key member of their team, won in 3:22.45.
Another Caribbean team, Cuba, also made the finals after finishing second in heat two behind Russia in a season's best of 3:25.46. The Russians looked impressive, winning in 3:23.71.
On the men's side, Jamaica and Bahamas booked their place in the deciding race, but Cuba (3:02.24) and Trinidad (3:04.12) faltered.
Bahamas was second behind a good looking Great Britain team in 2:59.88, with Jamaica taking third in 3:00.09. The Bahamians have Chris Brown to come in for the finals, while Jamaica is looking to bring in Bolt, a decision that is still left to be seen.
In the field, Jamaica's Chelsea Hammond just missed winning a medal in the women's Long Jump -- finishing fourth in the event with a personal best leap of 6.79m.
She finished behind some outstanding performances, led by Brazilian winner Maurren Higa Maggi, whose 7.04m, just edged out Russian Tatyana Lebedeva (7.03m). Nigeria's Blessing Akagbare had a career best jump of 6.91m to take third.
In the decathlon Jamaican captain Maurice Smith could not repeat his World Championships performance and finished ninth with 8205points. Cuban Leonel Suárez established a national record of 8527points for third. USA’s Bryan Clay won gold with 8791 points.