Finally, Felix gets to savor her gold

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • August 9, 2012 - 12:55 AM

LONDON - Allyson Felix grinned as she waited for the official results to pop up on the scoreboard. She knew what was coming, and she was going to enjoy this moment.

Olympic champion, at last.

The American sprinter won the 200 meters at the London Games on Wednesday, sparking a strong performance for the United States at Olympic Stadium.

Felix clocked 21.88 seconds to top Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100 four nights earlier. American Carmelita Jeter added bronze to go with her silver in the 100 meters.

Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth after defeating Felix in the Athens and Beijing Games. She was trying to become the first woman to win the same individual track and field event in three consecutive Olympics, but she couldn't keep up as Felix pulled away down the stretch.

"It's been a long time coming," Felix said. "Before the race, I reflected on the journey. I thought about Beijing and crossing the line and seeing my family and just breaking down there. Tonight I saw them, and it was just complete happiness."

Felix became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic sprint title since Gail Devers in 1996. Jeter, the 100 silver medalist last week, was the first U.S. woman to medal in both sprints since Florence Griffith Joyner won them in 1988.

"We come from such a rich legacy and history," Felix said. "To do our part is special."

Aries Merritt then won the men's 110 hurdles for the U.S. in 12.92. "It still hasn't sunk in yet that I'm Olympic champion,'' he said. "I'm still in shock."

Team USA's Brittney Reese claimed the women's long jump title with a distance of 23 feet, 4 1/2 inches. "It's a surreal moment," she said. "I got very emotional -- you do when you're representing your country.

The United States had two of the top three finishers in three of the four medal events at Olympic Stadium. World champion Lashinda Demus was second in the women's 400 hurdles.

Usain Bolt and Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake each won their 200 semifinal heats. Bolt on Thursday will try to become the first man with two Olympic golds in the 200 meters.

"There's a lot of people there who have come to spoil the party, so we'll see," said Bolt, who won his heat in 20.18.

In the decathlon, Ashton Eaton started off with an Olympic-best performance in the 100 meters and kept up the momentum, jumping out to a big lead after the first day.

Eaton has a 220-point advantage over fellow American Trey Hardee through five events.

Eaton began the morning by breaking Bill Toomey's 44-year-old record in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 10.35 seconds. He ended it with a solid performance in the 400. In between, Eaton finished first in the long jump, 11th in the shot put and second in the high jump.

"You guys keep track of the pace," Eaton told reporters, rolling his eyes. "I'll keep trying to do my best."

The last five decathlon events -- the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters -- await Thursday.

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