U.S. Women Set Relay World Record as Men Suffer Rare Defeat

U.S. Women Break Relay World Record; Burroughs Wins Gold Medal
The U.S. won the women’s 400-meter relay at the London Olympics, breaking a 27-year-old world record while defeating Jamaica by more than a half-second. Photographer: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team broke a 27-year-old world record at the London Games, while American men lost an Olympic 1,600-meter relay for the first time in 40 years.

The U.S. and Spain advanced to their second straight Olympic men’s basketball final yesterday as the Americans extended their lead in the medal standings.

Tianna Madison, 200-meter champion Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter ran a time of 40.82 seconds in winning the 400-meter relay at the Olympic Stadium. The previous mark of 41.37 was set by East Germany in 1985.

“We knew we could do it,” Felix said. “I was thinking Olympic record and when I saw the time, I said, ‘Oh my gosh, world record.’”

Jamaica, with two-time 100-meter gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce running the first leg, finished second in 41.41 seconds. Ukraine won bronze in 42.04. The Jamaican and Ukrainian teams set national records.

It was the second gold of the day for the U.S. after Jordan Burroughs won the men’s 74-kilogram freestyle wrestling title by defeating Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi of Iran in the final. The Americans lead the standings with 41 golds and 94 medals in total; China is second with 37 golds among its 81 medals.

Gold medals will be awarded in 32 events on the next-to-last day of competition today. The U.S. meets France in the women’s basketball gold-medal game, while Brazil seeks its first Olympic men’s soccer title when it plays Mexico in the final.

Relay Loss

In the men’s 1,600-meter relay last night, the Bahamas won gold to become the first nation to defeat the U.S. at that distance in the Olympics since the 1972 Munich Games.

Ramon Miller caught Angelo Taylor down the stretch as the Bahamas won in a national-record time of 2:56.72. The Americans took silver in 2:57.05 and Trinidad & Tobago was third.

“It’s amazing,” said Demetrius Pinder, who ran the second leg for Bahamas. “We made it good from the start. We finally got it over the U.S.”

The U.S. was two-time defending champion in that relay. The Americans also won in 2000, only to have their gold medals stripped when relay member Antonio Pettigrew admitted he had been using performance-enhancing substances at the time.

American teams won that relay in the previous four Olympics as well. Russia triumphed at the 1980 Moscow Games boycotted by the U.S., and Americans won in 1976. The U.S. was shut out of the medals in 1972, when Kenya took gold.

Men’s Basketball

In men’s basketball, Kevin Durant of the National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma City Thunder scored 19 points to lead the defending champion U.S. to a 109-83 semifinal win against Argentina, while Spain rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat Russia 67-59.

The U.S. will be seeking its 14th men’s basketball gold tomorrow. The Americans beat Spain 118-107 four years ago for the title in Beijing.

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia won her second women’s 5,000-meter title yesterday. Asli Cakir Alptekin and Gamze Bulut had a 1-2 finish for Turkey in the women’s 1,500 meters. Maryam Yusuf Jamal, 27, of Bahrain won bronze.

Two Olympic records fell as Russia’s Tatyana Lysenko won the women’s hammer throw with a toss of 78.18 meters (256 feet, 6 inches) and Renaud Lavillenie of France took the men’s pole vault at 5.97 meters.

Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli won the men’s 10-kilometer swimming marathon, becoming the first person to win medals in the pool and open water at the same Olympics. The 28-year-old took the bronze medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle on Aug. 4.

“This is probably one of the toughest things to do,” Mellouli said. “In the 1,500 meters I went for it and I came out with a bronze. Today I left it all out there.”

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