The U.S. Rebounds With 2 Impressive Relay Wins at the World Championships

August 24, 2009

After enduring two debacles in the preliminary heats of the Men's and Women's 4 x 100m relays, the U.S. regrouped with two dominant victories in the 4 x 400m relays on the last day of competition at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.

In both the Men's and Women's races the U.S. followed the identical blueprint for success -- win the race on the second leg.

In the Women's 4 x 400m, the U.S. elected to run 200m gold medalist Allyson Felix second, and she rewarded that decision by blowing the race open with an outstanding performance.

By the time Felix passed the baton, the U.S. had a comfortable lead from which they would never look back. When anchor Sanya Richards crossed the finish line in a winning time of 3:17.83, she was nearly 4 seconds ahead of second-place Jamaica.

The U.S. Men also dominated their competition by again seizing another large lead in the early stages of the race.

Angelo Taylor led the way on the first leg, giving the Americans a quick lead. He then passed the baton to 400m silver medalist Jeremy Wariner, who immediately proceeded to leave the rest of the field in his dust. When Wariner passed the baton to Kerron Clement, the U.S. had a huge cushion. Anchor LaShawn Merritt maintained that large lead, crossing the finish well ahead of the competition in a time of 2:57.86.

For the U.S. team, the 4 x 400m relays, 400m, and the 400m hurdles, all provided a much-needed lift after a series of humbling losses to their Jamaican rivals in the sprints. With their excellent depth and talent, the U.S. should continue to dominate at this distance in the near future.

That is, unless Usain Bolt decides to switch events.

Men's 5000m

Fans were treated to a thrilling finish in the Men's 5000m, as American Bernard Lagat and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele dueled to the finish. Lagat, running on an injured ankle that required four stitches, put himself in a great position to win by separating himself from the pack in the final 200 meters of the race.

With 100 meters left, Lagat was in second place directly behind Bekele, and was poised to unleash his finishing kick. A few strides later, Lagat had pulled even with his foe, and seemingly was on the verge of winning the race.

However, with 70 meters left Bekele kicked it into another gear, pulling away from Lagat to win in a time of 13:17.09. Lagat placed second, finishing in 13:17.33.

The victory capped off an outstanding meet for Bekele, who also won gold in the Men's 10,000m.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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