LOS ANGELES, August 12, 2012 – When USA Track & Field next bellows about having the world’s no. 1 track team, believe it. With Meb Keflezghi’s fourth in the marathon today, the track & field competition was completed and showed just how powerful the U.S. continues to be in the premiere Olympic sport:
The U.S. scored 303 total points, using the IAAF’s points-scoring system of 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for eight places, miles ahead of Russia’s second-place total of 176.5. How good is this?
Consider that it’s the most for the combined U.S. track & field team since 1984 in Los Angeles (399), the most in a non-boycotted Games since 1932 in Los Angeles (361) and the most in a Games held outside the U.S. since Paris in 1924 (326)! It’s almost 100 points more than in Beijing four years ago (207)!
The American team had more first (9), second (13), third (7), fourth (9), fifth (7) and sixth (6) places than any other country, and 56 finishes in the top eight. No one else was close.
On the medal stand, the U.S. team collected 29, one short of the “Project 30″ target, but still the most since Barcelona (30) in 1992. The second-place Russians had 18, 16 of them in the women’s competition.
The U.S. men scored 162 points to 62 for Kenya in second place, the most since Atlanta in 1996 (175) . . . and a long way from the paltry 105 points in Bejing. The American men tallied 15 medals, one more than in Bejing 2008 (14), three better than Sydney in 2000 (12), but less than in Athens in 1996 (19).
The U.S. women had one of their greatest meets in history, with 141 points, to win the team title from Russia (136) and 14 medals. The points total is the most since Los Angeles in 1984 (157.5), and the second-highest ever, meaning it’s the most in a non-boycotted Games.
The 14 women’s medals are more than any American women’s track team save the boycott-impacted 1984 Games (16). Outside the U.S., the previous best mark had been the 1992 Games in Barcelona, with 10 medals, the only two previous Games in which U.S. women had reached double digits in medals.
Despite the success, there are plenty of complainers out there (and I did read your e-mails) about the “failures” in the sprints and elsewhere. Consider, however, that this American team suffered badly from injuries, losing two pretty-sure medals in the 200 m with Walter Dix and 400 m with LaShawn Merritt. Suddenly that moves the medal count to 31 and at age 26, if Merritt was right, who is to say he wouldn’t have beaten back Kirani James, and then triumphed in the 4×400 m relay? Maybe we’ll know next year. Meanwhile, the Jamaicans were at full strength, although Asafa Powell didn’t show well in the 100 m final and then was left off the relay.
There were other U.S. losses too, such as Chris Solinsky in the 10,000 m, a still-not-right David Oliver in the hurdles, a still-recovering Tyson Gay not able to run the 200 m, Jeshua Anderson in the 400 m hurdles and so on. We’ll have a look later in the week at the U.S. team performance at the Games vis-a-vis the Olympic Trials.
For now, the U.S. can savor outstanding results, especially on the women’s side, and look forward to 2013. More on that later this week, too.
Olympic T&F team scoring tracker – final: click here.
Olympic T&F medal scoring tracker – final: click here.
Full IAAF Placing Table scoring: click here.
Comparison scoring and medals tracker 2000-12: click here.
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