OG 2012 Track & Field: August 8: Roll out the barrel!

LOS ANGELES, August 8, 2012 – Wednesday was projected as a six-medal day for the U.S. track & field squad, the biggest of this Games, and the American sprint and jumps corps was even better than predicted with seven medals: three golds, two silvers and two bronzes.

[Before we get going, please note (1) we’re using the Track & Field News Olympic previews as our form charts, and (2) we’re using the IAAF’s points-scoring system of 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for eight places.]

In the morning session, all three American entrants made it through the heats of the men’s 5,000 m and women’s 800 m. All three Americans failed to qualify in the women’s hammer (and all three threw much worse than at the Trials) and only Brad Walker (as expected) made it into the pole vault final.

In the evening qualifying, the U.S. lost 2011 world champ Jen Simpson in the women’s 1,500 (doped for eighth), but Morgan Uceny and Shannon Rowbury went through to the final and only Wallace Spearmon made it through to the 200 m final (Maurice Mitchell was doped for seventh but was fourth in semi three; Isiah Young was last in semi two).

Through the first day, Ashton Eaton already leads by 220 points and Trey Hardee has a 55-point lead over the rest of the field. Scores vs. the Trials at this point: Eaton 4,661 vs. 4,728 in Eugene; Hardee: 4,441 vs. 4,406 in Eugene. So far, so good.

Women’s Long Jump:
Brittney Reese almost didn’t qualify, fouled on her first jump and then ended the competition with her 23-4 1/2 (7.12 m) jump in the second round. However, behind her was a furious race for the other medals and American Janay DeLoach uncorked a clutch leap of 22-7 1/4 (6.89 m) in the fifth round to claim the bronze, one centimeter ahead of Ineta Radevica of Latvia.

U.S. women’s long jump medals are pretty rare in the Olympics: Reese and DeLoach are only the fourth and fifth U.S. medal-winners in the event and it’s only the second gold (Jackie Joyner-Kersee won in 1988), and first time ever for two medalists at the same Games.

The Russians showed signs of life with a 2-5-6 finish and 14 points, +8 on the dope sheet; the U.S. gained one.

Women’s 400 m Hurdles:
Lashina Demus left it all on the track, but couldn’t catch Natalya Antyukh in a rare highlight for the Russians in this meet. Demus won silver, equaling the best an American has ever done in the Olympic final in this event (four other times). Credit to Arizona star Georgeanne Moline, who set another lifetime best at 53.92, no. 10 all-time U.S. and with a very bright future.

On the points table, the U.S. grabbed 14 points vs. eight on the dope sheet, while Russia scored eight, vs. an expected 11, another step backwards in the team scoring.

Women’s 200 m:
Allyson Felix looked the best through the rounds and she was the best in the final, finally winning her elusive individual Olympic gold. It’s the first U.S. win in this event since Gwen Torrence in 1992.

Just as impressive was Carm Jeter’s bronze-medal-winning performance from the outside lane, powering past Veronica Campbell-Brown on the straightaway. It’s the first time the Americans have had two medals in the women’s 200 m since Los Angeles ‘84, the only other time it has happened. On the points table, score 18 for the U.S. (as projected); the Jamaicans fell back a little with 12 points vs. the 15 expected.

Men’s 110 m Hurdles:
After Aries Merritt ran a sensational 12.94 (+0.1) in his semifinal, it was hard to believe anyone could beat him in the final, and no one did, running a lifetime best 12.92. Jason Richardson’s silver was well-earned and it’s the first 1-2 finish for the U.S. since 1996 . . . but the 21st time the U.S. has won at least two medals in this event in 26 Olympic races!

On the scoring chart, chalk up 15 points for the U.S., one less than projected as Jeff Porter did not make it out of the semifinals.

Where are we?
Men: After six days and with 13 of 24 events scored, the U.S. now has a 92-34 lead over Britain, with Kenya and Jamaica next at 24. The American squad is now +10 vs. the dope; amazing.

The U.S. men have nine medals,+1 vs. projections, with no other country with more than three.

Women: After six days and with 14 of 23 events scored, the U.S. women are romping, 108-66 over Russia; the American women scored a stunning 46 points in three events today! The Jamaicans are next best at 41.

The U.S. women have gone wild with 11 medals, +2 vs. the dope and now leading Russia by three (which is +1 for them). No one else has more than three.

Overall: The U.S. scored 61 points today for a combined total of 200 points, an astonishing 122 ahead of Russia (78), followed by Jamaica (65).

Current scoresheets:
• Olympic T&F team scoring tracker after Day 6: click here.
• Olympic T&F medal scoring tracker after Day 6: click here.
• Full IAAF Placing Table scoring: click here.

More each day after the close of competition; stay tuned!

(You can stay current with Rich’s technology, sports and Olympic commentaries by following him at www.twitter.com/RichPerelman.)

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