BOLT GETS HIS THIRD STRAIGHT TRIPLE GOLD
Usain Bolt completes his third straight Summer Games with three golds
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt anchors the gold -medal-winning 400-meter team for his third gold in Rio de Janeiro.
RIO DE JANEIRO >> In perhaps the final Olympic race of his remarkable career, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt went a perfect 3-for-3 in his third straight Summer Games, an unprecedented feat and one that might stand untouched for years to come. Bolt, who added the Rio 100- and 200-meter dash titles to the crowns he won in Beijing and London, anchored Jamaica’s 400-meter relay team to victory Friday at Olympic Stadium in 37.27 seconds.
Japan was a surprising second in 37.60 seconds. The U.S. team of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Trayvon Bromell took third in 37.62 seconds, but was later disqualified for what’s believed to be a lane violation on their first baton exchange. Fourthplace Canada (37.64 seconds) was elevated to the bronze.
USA Track & Field officially filed an appeal to the disqualification.
Bolt ran away from the field in the last 30 meters or so, then promptly ran to the crowd to greet his adoring fans before rejoining his teammates for celebrations that included dancing, wrapping themselves in flags and generally savoring a historic moment.
Bolt, who will be 30 on Sunday, has said he will retire after these Rio Games, which would be a great loss to a sport that urgently needs not only his excellence but his genial, fan-friendly personality. He didn’t set any world records in Rio, but he created great excitement and brought thousands of spectators to a stadium that was largely empty throughout the competition.
Just before the men’s race, the U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie won gold with a time of 41.01 seconds. That was the eighth medal of Felix’s stellar career, a total comprised of five gold — the most for any female track athlete-and three silver.
The Jamaican team of christiana Williams, sprint double champion Elaine Thompson, Veronica Campbell-Brown Fraser-Pryce was seconds in 41.36 seconds. Britain was third in 41.77 seconds.
The U.S. women had to run out of Lane 1 on Friday, making their task difficult. They were placed there because of their first-round mishap on Thursday, when Felix was elbowed by a Jamaican runner and couldn’t hand the baton cleanly to Gardner. That put them out of an automatic qualification but the results was sucessfully appealed and the relay-with Moro lake Akinosun as the
anchor — was allowed to run alone to try to get a top-eight time. They recorded the fastest time but were considered to have qualified on time and were relegated to the inside instead of a prime middle lane.
Earlier Friday, the U.S. women’s 1,600-meter relay team ran the fastest first-round time- — 3:21.42 — and moved on to today’s final. The lineup of Courtney Okolo, Taylor Ellis-Watson, Francena McCorory and Phyllis Francis got the baton around cleanly, avoiding any mishaps of the variety that the 400-meter relay experienced in its first-round heat on Thursday. The 1,600-meter lineup will change for the final, with the exact lineup being announced today.
Jamaica (3:22.38) had the second-best time, followed by Ukraine, Britain, Canada, Italy, Poland and Australia.
The U.S. men’s 1,600-meter relay team finished second in its heat to Jamaica, which got a scorching anchor leg from Javon Francis. Arman Hall, Tony McQuay, Kyle Clemons and David Verburg of the U.S. were timed in 2:58.38, just behind Jamaica’s 2:58.29. Trinidad and Tobago was disqualified from that heat. Britain won the second heat but was disqualified, allowing Brazil to make today’s final.
In the women’s 5,000, Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot of Kenya set an Olympic record with a time of 14:27.17 to win gold, ahead of Hellen Obiri of Kenya (14:29.77) and 10,000-meter champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia (14:33.59). Shelby Houlihan, who became the lone American entrant when Abbey D’Agostino had to withdraw because of a serious knee injury she suffered during a fall in the previous round, finished 11th in 15:08.89.
U.S. gets gold, silver in BMX
The United States ended its gold medal drought in BMX cycling when Connor Fields took the men’s final.
Fields won with a time of 34.622 seconds, beating the Netherlands’ Jelle van Gorkom by .684 seconds. It’s the first time that Team USA has won BMX since the American-born action sport became an Olympic medal event in 2008. The United States also returned to the podium after getting shut out in 2012 in London.
On the women’s side, Colombia’s Mariana Pajon successfully defended her gold medal. The fan favorite in Rio raced to the front early and completed the nearly quartermile-long course filled with bumps and twists in 34.093 seconds, .342 seconds faster than silver medalist Alise Post of the United States.
Stefany Hernandez of Venezuela won the bronze.
Park leads into final round
Inbee Park of South Korea has a two-shot lead going into the final round at the Olympic Golf Course.
But it wasn’t easy in gusts that reached 30 mph. And she now faces the No. 1 player in women’s golf — Lydia Ko — for the gold medal.
Park made three bogeys on the back nine and shot a 1-under 70.
Ko raced into contention with her first hole-in-one, and the Kiwi made all pars in the wind on the back nine for a 65. She was two shots behind along with Gerina Piller, the American who has yet to win on the LPGA Tour. Piller shot a 68.
Even though Piller hasn’t won, her most famous moment was last year in Germany when she made the winning point at the Solheim Cup. She says playing for the flag brings out the best in her.
Park was at 11-under 202.
Sickness affects USA’s Suhr
The United States’ Jenn Suhr broke down in tears after failing to defend her gold medal in the pole vault and said she’s scared about her health.
She says she’s been sick for 10 days, was coughing up blood Friday and is concerned her illness is worse than a respiratory infection.
Suhr said she vomited twice during Friday night’s pole vault and began crying as she discussed how she trained for four years for a repeat gold but is feeling sicker than she’s ever felt in her life.
Suhr was eliminated with a mark of 4.60 and tied for seventh.
Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece won the gold medal in the women’s pole vault with a mark of 4.85 meters.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt celebrated winning gold in the men’s 4x100-meter relay final at the Olympic stadium on Friday.
He said he will retire after competing in Rio de Janeiro.
Above, Connor Fields of the United States, top center, raced against riders from Australia, the Netherlands and New Zealand in the men’s BMX semifinal on Friday. Members of the U.S. women’s water polo team, left, celebrated after defeating Italy for the gold medal on Friday.