LOS ANGELES, August 9, 2012 – Usain Bolt defended his title and plenty of criticism will be aimed at the American sprint corps for failing to medal in the 200, but the U.S. team continued to pile up the medals, winning four more in the decathlon and men’s triple jump.
[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.]
The U.S. men didn’t qualify anyone into the final of the 400 meters, but they’re in the final of the 4×400 m relay . . . whew!
The team of Manteo Mitchell (you remember him: fifth at the Trials in 44.96?), Josh Mance, Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum ran 2:58.87 to finish second to the Bahamas (anchored by Chris Brown), which had the same time. It’s the fourth-fastest qualifying time in Olympic history.
McQuay (the Florida junior) blazed a 43.65 for his leg and Nellum (late of USC) was clocked at 44.37, so Mitchell and USC sophomore Mance averaged a quite-mediocre 45.4 apiece. What about the final? Perhaps Angelo Taylor? And where is Jeremy Wariner?
At least the U.S. didn’t drop the stick.
Meanwhile, Chaunte Lowe and Brigetta Barrett both made the women’s high jump final, but UCLA alum Amy Acuff did not, likely the end of a brilliant career.
In the women’s 800 m, Alysia Johnson-Montano ran a very fine 1:58.42 in the second semi to make the final, but Alice Schmidt and Geena Gall did not advance.
In the women’s 4×100 m relay, running out of lane two, Tianna Madison, Jeneba Tarmoh, Bianca Knight and Lauryn Williams of the U.S. blazed to a 41.64 clocking – no. 14 all-time and no. 2 in Olympic history, with the last two exchanges looking quite sharp. Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter are sure to be added for the final. The world record of 41.37 by the DDR is not out of reach . . . if the U.S. can get the stick around in the final.
Men’s Triple Jump:
Will Claye took the lead at 57-6 1/2 (17.54 m) in the second round, while Christian Taylor fouled twice before coming up with a 56-3 1/4 (17.15 m) jump to advance. Then it was Taylor, who unloaded a 58-5 1/4 jump (17.81 m), the no. 9 performance in U.S. history, in the fourth round to take the lead. Claye responded with a 57-9 3/4 (17.62 m) bomb in the fourth round to cement his silver status.
On the points table, the U.S. matched the pre-meet predictions for gold and silver.
Men’s 800 m:
In the greatest 800 m of all time, Daniel Rudisha’s world record of 1:40.91 dragged home a series of staggering times, including both Americans breaking 1:43! All credit to ex-USC star Duane Solomon, whose 1:42.85 in fourth makes him second all-time U.S. to his coach, UCLA’s Johnny Gray (1:42.60), with Nick Symmonds now third all-time U.S. at 1:42.95. Fantastic!
On the points table, the U.S. claimed nine, +2 against the dope sheet. Kenya’s gold and bronze earned 14 vs. eight projected (+6). One low note: on the NBCOlympics.com stream, two commercials were inserted after the introductions and the start was missed.
Men’s 200 m:
Wallace Spearmon ran pretty well at 19.90, but it was only good enough for fourth! The Jamaican sweep of the medals gave them 21 points, +3 on the dope sheet. The U.S. lost three points on the dope sheet with only one finalist.
There were six previous medal sweeps in this event, all by the U.S. It’s the first an American has failed to medal in this event since 2000 and only the fourth time in Olympic history (including 1980) that the U.S. hasn’t won a medal here.
Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee were supposed to be 1-2 and they finished just that way: Eaton’s 8,869 (no. 8 all-time) was 198 points ahead of everyone and Hardee closed nicely in the final 200 m in the 1,500 m to finish at 8,671, 148 points ahead of bronze medalist Leonel Suarez. Score 15 for the U.S., as expected.
No significant team scoring implications here, as the Russians did not score. Czech Barbora Spotakova repeated as Olympic champ, a feat only accomplished previously by Ruth Fuchs of the GDR.
Where are we?
Men: After seven days and with 17 of 24 events scored, the U.S. now leads Jamaica, 136-45 and is +9 on the dope sheet. Jamaica is +8, but the Russians are now -49 (just 13 points!) and the Kenyans are -17.
The U.S. men have 13 medals, just as projected at this point, with Jamaica at six and Kenya at four.
Women: After seven days and with 15 of 23 events scored, the U.S. continues at 108 (no finalists today), with Russia still second at 66 (-32 vs. projections) and Jamaica third at 41 (-4 vs. the dope).
The U.S. women have 11 medals, two more than expected at this point, with Russia at eight (as projected).
Overall: The U.S. has a combined total of 244 points (+14), well ahead of Jamaica (86), Russia (79) and Kenya (68).
On the medals front, the U.S. is now at 24, one more than in Bejing, with more to come. The Russians are next best, with nine.
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.)