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Two-medal night, American record highlight Sunday track & field action at Olympic Stadium

8/14/2016
 

Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 3


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL -- Two Olympic medals, courtesy of three-time Olympians Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt, and an American record in the women’s triple jump were just some of the highlights for Team USA at the Olympic Stadium in Rio on Sunday evening.


Gatlin gets 100m silver behind historic Bolt gold

History was destined to be made in the men’s 100m final, with two-time defending champion Usain Bolt and 2004 gold medalist Justin Gatlin (Pensacola, Florida) vying for the title of World’s Fastest Man. Gatlin was out quickest of anyone and had a superb drive phase, but Bolt was not to be denied as he took over the lead midway through the race and ran into the history books in 9.81 seconds as the first man to win three Olympic 100m titles. Gatlin crossed in 9.89 for silver, with Canada’s Andre De Grasse taking bronze in 9.91.


Trayvon Bromell (St. Petersburg, Florida) was out well but couldn’t make an impression from lane two, finishing eighth in 10.06.


In the semifinals, Bromell had one of the quicker starts and held his own with the field, finishing third in 10.01 to claim the last time-qualifier spot. Setting up another epic final, Gatlin disposed of all challengers in the final semi, zipping to a 9.94 while barely breaking a sweat.


Marvin Bracy (Orlando, Florida) was the slowest man out of the blocks in the first semi and couldn’t catch the leaders as he finished sixth in 10.08 and missed out on the final.


Merritt takes bronze in fastest 400m final in Olympic history

The men’s 400 was nothing like anyone expected, and it did the impossible: took attention away from the title-card fight of the men’s 100.


The race was supposed to be a match-up of the last two Olympic gold medalists - LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Virginia) and Kirani James of Grenada. Instead, it was a runaway world record by 2015 world champion Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa.


James and Merritt were both out well, with James taking a slight lead. Merritt made it up on the backstretch, and the two hit the final straight side by side. With the world focusing on the battle in lanes five and six, however, Van Niekerk hit the final 100 well ahead of both men and was busy pulling away from the field. Van Niekerk crossed the line in 43.03 to shatter Michael Johnson’s world record of 43.18, set in 1999, lopping a whopping .45 seconds off his personal best.


Behind him, Merritt and James went shoulder to shoulder, with James coming away with silver in 43.76 to Merritt’s 43.85, with Merritt’s effort causing him to stumble just before the finish. James and Merritt clocked the fastest times for silver and bronze in Olympic history.


Orji breaks American record, finishes 3 cm outside of medal contention

Keturah Orji (Mount Olive, New Jersey) uncorked an American record on her opening jump of the evening, launching herself 14.71m/48-3.25 to exceed her own AR by 18 centimeters. Her next two jumps were fouls, and she moved from first to fourth by the conclusion of the fourth round. Orji’s place finish was by far the best ever by an American at the Olympic Games, as she is the only U.S. woman ever to take all six jumps.


Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won the competition with a best mark of 15.17m/49-9.25, with Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela second with 14.98m/49-1.75 and Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan third with 14.74m/48-4.5, just 3 cm head of Orji.


American trio advances to 400m final

Phyllis Francis (Queens, New York) was in third going into the final bend of semifinal one at 200m and picked up some ground around that turn. She came into the final 100m down by about a meter and then powered down the stretch to overtake the leaders and win in 50.31.


As usual, Natasha Hastings (Brooklyn, New York) was out very quickly and made up the stagger on Jamaica's Shericka Jackson outside her by the 100m mark. Hastings held her lead off the last turn and was up by almost three meters, but Jackson reeled her in over the final 100m and edged ahead at the line to take the semi in a PR 49.83, with Hastings second in a season-best 49.90, , the third-fastest time of the round overall.


The two fastest women in the world in 2016 met up in the third semifinal, with Allyson Felix (Los Angeles) drawn one lane inside Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas. Felix had a sprightly start and caught Miller by 150m. Felix marshaled her resources coming off the last turn and held off Miller to win in a season-best 49.67, the fastest time of the round and the second-fastest time in the world this year. Miller also was sub-50 in 49.91.


Rowbury, Simpson qualify for second straight Olympic 1500m final

Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco) bided her time in the first semifinal, tucking into the middle of the pack in the first two laps. Sitting 8th with the bell lap approaching, Rowbury made her move with 300m to go, riding the shoulder of Ethiopia’s Sado and passing her around the curve to comfortably finish third in a season’s best 4:04.46. In her first Olympic semifinal, Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, California) finished 12th in 4:10.41.


Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) took the lead at the gun and ran at the front, keeping an honest, if conservative pace for the field and keeping herself out of trouble. After leading the field through 68-second laps, Simpson saw Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Laura Muir surge quickly past her at the gun.  With that trio pulling away, Simpson regained her form around the final bend and placed fourth in 4:05.07 to automatically advance to Tuesday’s final.


Kynard through to men’s high jump final

A first-time clearance at 2.29m/7-6 put 2012 Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) into the final of the men’s high jump. Kynard had to take two attempts at the previous height, but sailed over 2.29m to seal his advancement.


Bradley Adkins (Idalou, Texas) and Ricky Robertson (Hernando, Mississippi) both cleared 2.26m/7-5 on their second attempts, but did not advance to the final.


Follow along with all of the action from the Rio Olympic Games by following USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #Rio2016. Fans can follow every second of the Rio Olympic Games on the NBC family of networks. All track & field action can be streamed live via the NBC Sports app and the broadcast schedule for tomorrow is as follows:


MONDAY, AUGUST 15 (all times ET)

8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

NBCSN

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

NBC

8:00 p.m. – Midnight

NBC


TEAM USA MEDAL TABLE

Gold (2)

Michelle Carter, Women’s SP, 20.63m/67-8.25 AR (8/12)

Jeffrey Henderson, Men’s LJ, 8.38m/27-6 (8/13)


Silver (2)

Tori Bowie, Women’s 100m, 10.83 (8/13)

Justin Gatlin, Men’s 100m, 9.89 (8/14)


Bronze (1)

LaShawn Merritt, Men’s 400m, 43.85 (8/14)



Amanda Brooks
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USA Track & Field
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