Australia’s Sally Pearson won the women’s 100-meter hurdles in an Olympic-record time of 12.35 seconds, beating defending champion Dawn Harper of the U.S. in a photo finish.
Pearson, 25, and Harper, 28, waited several seconds before a screen in London’s rain-swept Olympic Stadium showed the Australian was first by 0.02 seconds. Kellie Wells, another American, took the bronze medal.
“I didn’t realize how close Dawn was until the end,” Pearson said. “Relief was the first thing I felt, then shock. I really wanted this.”
It’s the first track and field gold medal for Australia at the London Games.
Pearson, who won the silver medal behind Harper at the 2008 Beijing Games, started slowly before pulling ahead near the end. The two athletes embraced after the result was confirmed.
“I’m happy to win silver,” Harper said. “There was so much pressure on me.”
Also today, Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi won the men’s 1,500-meter final by pulling away from the rest of the field with about 200 meters left.
He won in a time of 3 minutes, 34.08 seconds. Leonel Manzano of the U.S. took silver and Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider claimed bronze.
Russian Ivan Ukhov improved his personal best to win the men’s high jump by clearing 2.38 meters. Erik Kynard of the U.S. got the silver medal. Britain’s Robbie Grabarz, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Derek Drouin of Canada shared the bronze medal.
Ukhov, 26, said he prevailed even after losing focus when he changed into a tracksuit between jumps and lost the vest he was competing in. He said he had to borrow one from another jumper.
The world champion, Jesse Williams of the U.S., lay face down on the track after tying for ninth.
“I couldn’t believe it and I still can’t,” Williams said. “I just wasn’t using my body’s power.”
Germany’s Robert Harting won the discus with a throw of 68.27 meters to extend his two-year unbeaten run.
Harting, 27, came from behind to beat Ehsan Hadadi of Iran. Estonia’s Gerd Kanter, the 2008 Olympic champion, took bronze.
To celebrate his victory, the 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) Harting took off his vest, draped himself in a German flag and jumped over a couple of hurdles.
The U.S.’s Sanya Richards-Ross, who won the 400-meter gold medal two days ago, was fastest in qualifying for the 200-meter final with a time of 22.30 seconds.
Next quickest was the U.S.’s Allyson Felix, a three-time world champion, followed by two Jamaicans -- defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and London 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Earlier today, China’s Liu Xiang stumbled and fell at the first hurdle in his 110-meter heat. Aries Merritt of the U.S. ran 13.07, the fastest opening-heat time in history, to cruise into the semifinals.
Liu’s second straight Olympic disappointment appeared to be because of a recurring Achilles tendon injury, China track team leader Feng Shuyong told reporters.
The 100-meter champion, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, eased into tomorrow’s 200-meter semifinals. Bolt is the defending champion at 200 meters.