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Clay Wins Decathlon, Tactical Women’s 5000, Another Jamaican WR

BEIJING – Bryan Clay upgraded his 2004 silver medal to 2008 gold in
the decathlon, dominating competition during Friday evening action at
the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium.

Clay
(Glendora, Calif.) got his evening off to a very strong start, throwing
a season-best 70.97m/232-10 to place third in the javelin. The
performance earned him 904 points, bringing his total up to 8,269 with
one event remaining in the 10-event competition. Ahead of the field by
479 points, his only competition was himself in the final event, the
1,500m.

Never a favorite event for Clay, he
endured through the accumulated fatigue of two days of competition to
finish in 5:06.59 for 522 points, bringing his winning total to 8,791
and becoming the first U.S. gold medalist in the event since Dan
O’Brien in 1996. Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus took the silver with
8,551, and Leonel Suarez of Cuba finished third with 8,527.

Near miss for Miles

Derek
Miles came within one clearance of winning a medal in the pole vault,
ultimately ending fourth. Miles had cleared 4.60m/18-4.5 on his third
attempt and 5.70m/18-8.25 on his second. After passing at
5.75m/18-10.25, he was one of five jumpers remaining at 5.80m/ 19-0.25.

Among
the five, Miles sat in third. He had three attempts at 5.80 but missed
on all three, yet still was in third. But Australia’s Steve Hooker
cleared the height on his third and last try, leapfrogging Miles and
pushing him out of the medals. Hooker was just picking up steam. He
went on to vault an Olympic record 5.96m/19-6.5, breaking American Tim
Mack’s record of 5.95m/19-6.25 set in 2004. Evgeny Lukyanenko of Russia
was second at 5.85m/19-2.25, and Denys Yurchenko of Ukraine was third
at 5.70m.

Reese 5th in long jump

Competing
in her first Olympic Games, Brittney Reese (University, Miss.) led
three Americans in the women’s long jump final. Reese’s second-round
jump of 6.76m/22-2.25 kept her in fifth place after three rounds of
jumping, while Grace Upshaw (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) was eighth with
her third-round effort of 6.58m/21-7.25 to make the final cut of eight.
Funmi Jimoh (Stafford, Texas) was 12th at 6.29m/20-7.75.
Reese and Upshaw were unable to improve upon their marks, but neither
were they passed in the standings, and they finished fifth and eighth,
respectively, with Jimoh 12th.

Tactical women’s 5,000m

In
a race that took conservative pacing to new levels in the opening laps,
Olympic Trials champion Kara Goucher (Portland, Ore.), 10,000m bronze
medalist Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.) and three-time Olympian Jen
Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) put on their punching gloves and
competed in a tactical and crowded women’s 5,000m final.

Elvan
Abeylegesse of Turkey led the entire field through 800m in
approximately 2:54. The first kilometer was passed in 3:49, followed by
a brief pace increase that led to 2 km in 6:45.4. But they slowed
again. With three laps to go, steeplechase gold medalist Gulnara
Galkina-Samitova of Russia picked up the pace, with 10,000m gold
medalist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia in tow. With two laps left,
Abeylegesse began to speed up in earnest, throwing in a 64-second lap,
and with one left, the sprint was on. At the finish, it was Dibaba
winning her second gold of the Games in 15:41.40, with Abeylegesse
second in 15:42.74 and Meseret Defar of Ethiopia third in 15:44.12.
Goucher ended ninth in 15:49.39, with Flanagan 10th in 15:50.80. Rhines was 14th in 16:34.63.

In
4x400m relay qualifying, the USA women’s team of Mary Wineberg
(Cincinnati, Ohio), Monique Henderson (Chula Vista, Calif.), Natasha
Hastings (Clermont, Fla.) and Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas) ran
3:22.45 to win heat 2 and advance to Saturday’s final. The men’s team
of 400m bronze medalist David Neville (Valencia, Calif.), 400m hurdles
silver medalist Kerron Clement (Los Angeles), Reggie Witherspoon
(Baltimore, Md.) and 400m hurdles gold medalist Angelo Taylor (Decatur,
Ga.) won heat 1 in 2:59.98 to advance.

Another WR for Jamaica

The
Jamaican men’s 4x100m relay team closed out the evening in style, with
Usain Bolt picking up his third world record and third gold medal of
these Olympics. With Nesta Carter leading off to Michael Frater,
Jamaica was relatively even with the field entering the third leg.
Unfortunately for the rest of the field and for the existing WR, Bolt
ran that leg and broke the race open. The 100 and 200m world record
holder handed off to former 100m record holder Asafa Powell, who dug
toward the finish line and crossed in 37.10, breaking the world and
Olympic record of 37.40 held by the United States.

For
more information on Team USA at the Olympic Games, including athlete
quotes, event schedule, TV schedule and complete results, visit www.usatf.org

Team USA medal table, 2008 Olympic Games


Gold (5)

Stephanie Brown Trafton (Galt, Calif.), women’s discus, 64.74m/212-5

Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.), men’s 400m hurdles, 47.25

Dawn Harper (Los Angeles), women’s 100m hurdles, 12.54

LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.), men’s 400m, 43.75

Bryan Clay (Glendora, Calif.), decathlon, 8,791


Silver (8)

Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.), men’s shot put, 21.09m/69-2.5

Jenn Stuczynski (Churchville, N.Y.), women’s pole vault, 4.80m/15-9

Kerron Clement (Los Angeles), men’s 400m hurdles, 47.98

Sheena Johnson Tosta (Chula Vista, Calif.), women’s 400m hurdles, 53.70.

Shawn Crawford (Los Angeles), men’s 200m, 19.96

Jeremy Wariner (Waco, Texas), men’s 400m, 44.74

David Payne (Hampton, Va.), men’s 110m hurdles, 13.17

Allyson Felix (Los Angeles), women’s 200, 21.93


Bronze (8)

Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.), women’s 10,000m, 30:22.22AR

Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio), women’s heptathlon, 6619 points

Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), men’s 100m, 9.91

Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.), men’s 400m hurdles, 48.06

Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas), women’s 400m, 49.93

Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), men’s 200m, 19.98

David Neville (Los Angeles), men’s 400m, 44.80

David Oliver (Kissimmee, Fla.), men’s 110m hurdles, 13.18

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