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USA vs. the World at the Penn Relays

Held: April 30, 2005 at Franklin Field, Philadelphia, PA

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Top Performances

LaTasha Colander

Top of "The World"

Team USA made itself the team to beat at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, while also avenging Olympic defeats in the 4x100 relays.

The women's USA Red team led from the gun, with 2005 indoor Visa Champion Angela Daigle getting off to a quick start. She handed off to 2004 Olympic 100m silver medalist Lauryn Williams, who gave the U.S. a gaping lead with a blazing leg. 1996 Olympic relay gold medalist Inger Miller kept the Americans in the game, while 2004 Olympic Trials 100m champion LaTasha Colander easily ran away from the field to win in a world-leading time of 42.68 seconds.

The USA Blue team of Angela Williams, Allyson Felix, Stephanie Durst and Muna Lee was second in 43.15, with Jamaica, the Olympic gold medalists, third in 43.50 (Tayna Lawrence, Juliet Campbell, Aleen Bailey, Moya Thompson).

Justin Gatlin

American Revolution in men's relay

The men's 4x100m relay provided a bit of confusion to the 44,612 fans at Franklin Field when the USA Blue team (Mardy Scales, Jason Smoots, Darvis Patton, J.J. Johnson) took a lead of more than five meters over USA Red (Olympic silver medalist Coby Miller, Leonard Scott, Olympic 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford, Olympic 100m gold medalist Justin Gatlin) heading into the anchor leg.

A searing second leg by Jason Smoots put USA Blue in the lead, while Darvis Patton used the curve-running technique that made him 2003 world outdoor 200m silver medalist to keep the cushion.

A come-from-behind victory was no sure thing for Gatlin and USA Red, given the size of USA Red's deficit and the fact that USA Blue's J.J. Johnson, who anchored Team USA to a come-from-behind win at the 2003 World Outdoor Championships, is one of the world's best anchor men.

But Gatlin - the Olympic 100m gold medalist, 200m bronze medalist and 4x100m silver medalist - displayed his Olympic-champion form, running down the 6-3, 210-pound Johnson to give USA Red the win in 38.58, the second-fastest time in the world this year. USA Blue was a close second in 38.60, with the Jamaican team of Christopher Williams, Dwight Thomas, Ricardo Williams and Sheldon Morant third in 38.38. Running for the Olympic gold-medal Great Britain, Jason Gardener, Chris Lambert, Tim Abeyie and Mark Lewis-Francis were fourth in 39.59.

Allyson Felix

Record run in women's sprint medley

The women's USA Red sprint medley relay team crushed the existing world best in the sprint medley relay, posting a time of 3:37.42 to break the University of Tennessee's mark of 3:41.78, set by Tennessee at last year's Penn Relays.

Olympic 200m silver medalist Allyson Felix gave the Red team the lead in the first 200-meter leg, with Canada second and Jamaica in third. That order remained through Kia Davis' second 200m leg and Moushaumi Robinson's 400-meter leg.

Two-time Olympian Hazel Clark took the baton for the 800m anchor leg, covering the first 400 meters in a searing 56 seconds. The quick pace was nearly her downfall in the final meters, but the South Orange, N.J., native held off Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica to take the win. Jamaica was second in 3:37.87 (Juliet Campbell, Novlene Williams, Ronetta Smith, Kenia Sinclair), with Canada third in 3:45.98 (Adrienne Power, Erica Broomfield, Tawa Dortch, Sarah Ali-Kahn). Team USA blue dropped the baton on the first exchange, between Connie Moore and Lauryn Williams.

Khadevis Robinson

Men's sprint medley success

Jamaica led after one lap of the men's sprint medley, thanks to quick opening 200m legs by world junior record holder Usain Bolt and Ricardo Williams. But Leo Bookman and 2000 Olympian Kaaron Conwright had kept the Americans in the thick of it, while USA Blue was a close third after 200 legs by Mark Jelks and Rae Edwards.

Mitch Potter took a quick lead in the 400m leg for USA red but paid for his early pace in the final meters, as Jamaica's 400-meter man, Brandon Simpson, had the lead entering the final handoff. Potter of USA Red and USA Blue's Ashton Collins were close behind.

2004 Olympic Khadevis Robinson left no doubt of the outcome of the race when he quickly moved to the lead for USA Red. Robinson crossed the finish line in 3:12.10 for the win, with South Africa moving up for second (3:13.64 - Xandre Strydon, Snyman Pinsloo, Ofentse Mogawane, Werner Botha) and Alan Webb-anchored USA Blue third in 3:14.01.

Jamaican 4x400m team

Four-lap drama

The Jamaican men took their first race in the history of USA vs. The World in one of the most dramatic races ever. With Chris Brown toting the baton, Bahamas held the lead at the cut-in point 100 meters into the second leg of the relay. Relay world record holder Tyree Washington gave chase for USA Red, followed by Sanjay Ayre of Jamaica.

Coming into the final straight, Washington moved to the outside to start to gain ground on Brown, but got tangled with the Bahamian's legs. Washington tumbled to the track while Bahamas maintained the lead.

At the second handoff, Jamaica was in second, followed by the Dominican Republic (who had just benefited from the efforts of Olympic 400m hurdles gold medalist Felix Sanchez) and USA Blue, who were in fourth after legs by Mitch Potter and Olympic 400m silver medalist Otis Harris.

The remaining USA Red team of teen phenom LaShawn Merritt and USA indoor champion Bershawn Jackson could only watch as the rest of the race unfolded.

Jamaica's Jermaine Gonzales took the lead on the third leg, followed by the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, USA Blue's James Carter, and Canada bringing up the rear. The anchor leg was dramatic from start to finish as Leonard Byrd quickly moved up to the pack for USA Blue. But Jamaica's Davian Clarke was not to be deterred, taking the win in 3:02.63 over USA Blue's 3:03.08 (Mitch Potter, Otis Harris, James Carter,Leonard Byrd). Bahamas were third in 3:03.11 (Avard Moncur, Chris Brown, Alexis Roberts, Tim Munnings).

Sanya Richards

Another world leader for U.S. women

USA Red faced no such obstacles in easily winning the women's 4x400. Three of the four relay gold medalists from Athens took the track for USA Red, and the results spoke for themselves.

Dee Dee Trotter, Lashinda Demus, Sanya Richards and Monique Hennagan easily out-distanced the Russian team of Svetlana Pospelova, Yulia Pechonkina, Olga Kotlyarova and Oleysia Zykina, 3:22.93 to 3:25.64. An Olympian in the 400-meter hurdles, Demus joined the Olympic relay trio of Trotter, Richards and Hennagan to post the fastest time in the world in 2005. The Caribbean All-Stars (Debbie Ann Paris, Aliann Pompey, Neisha Bernard-Thomas, Hazel Ann Regis) were third in 3:28.77, followed by USA Blue (Kia Davis, Demetria Washington, Allyson Felix, Moushaumi Robinson) in fourth in 3:29.14.

End of perfection for Team USA

Prior to Saturday, Team USA's men had never lost a relay at USA vs. The World since the event began at the Penn Relays in 2000. Jamaica is the only team to unseat the American women, winning the 4x100 relay in 2002 and 4x200m relay in 2001.

Franklin Field

Bad weather? No problem!

Despite the dark, wet and chilly weather, 44,612 fans turned out for the final day of Penn Relays competition on Saturday, bringing the three-day attendance total to 108,809, the third-highest attendance for the meet since 1990.

Nick Willis and Nate Brannen

Collegiate Record for Michigan

In other relay action at Penn on Saturday, the University of Michigan set men's collegiate, Penn Relays and Franklin Field records in the 4 x mile Championship of America. The team of Andrew Ellerton, Mike Woods, Nick Willis and Nate Brannen ran 16:04.54 to break the old record of 16:07.96, set by Arkansas at the 1999 Penn Relays.

Top U.S. Performances - USA vs. the World/Penn Relays

Event Mark
1. USA Red 4x100m Relay 38.58
2. USA Blue 4x100m Relay 38.60
3. Jason Smoots 100m 10.16
Event Mark
1. USA Red 4x100m Relay 42.68
2. USA Blue 4x100m Relay 43.15
3. USA Red 4x400m Relay 3:22.93

Next up in the Visa Championship Series:

May 22, adidas Track Classic in Carson, CA. On ESPN May 22, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET.

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