Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter lead track and field team to medal lead
In predictably dominant fashion, Team USA overpowered the other teams with 29 overall medals (eight gold). The next closest nation was Russia who tallied 18 medals (eight gold) followed by Jamaica (12 medals, four gold) and Kenya (11 medals, two gold).
Allyson Felix paced the American effort with three gold medals—the 200-meter, the 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400-meter relay. She became the first U.S. woman to win three gold in a single Olympics since Florence-Griffith Joyner managed the feat in 1988. In the 4x100-meter relay race, Felix and her teammates set a new world record of 40.82 and broke an East German mark (41.37) that had stood since 1985.
Carmelita Jeter was another three-medal performer with a gold in the 4x100-meter relay, silver in the 100-meter race and bronze in the 200-meter race. In the men’s 110-meter hurdles event, Aries Merritt (12.92) and Jason Richardson (13.04) took gold and silver. The Americans also pulled off a slightly surprising finish in the long jump with Brittney Reese taking the gold medal and Janay DeLoach sneaking into the bronze medal position on her next to last jump.
Other notable performances included Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee’s one-two finish in the decathlon, Sandra Richards-Ross’ gold medals in the 400-meter race and the 4x400-meter relay and Brigetta Barrett’s silver medal in the high jump that ended a 24-year drought for the American women.
But perhaps the most inspiring moment from USA Track and Field came from Monteo Mitchell who competed in the 4x400-meter relay preliminary race. About halfway through his leg of the race, Mitchell heard a horrible popping sound from his left leg. He knew something was wrong but was determined to run the final 200 meters and pass the baton to his teammate. Later that day, an x-ray determined that Mitchell had broken his fibula. Thankfully, his sacrifice paid off as his teammates went on to win the gold medal.
“Faith, focus finish. Faith, focus finish,” he told reporters. “That’s the only thing I could say to myself.”
Photo courtesy of Team USA