Jenebah Tarmoh to Bianca Knight, 4x100m relay rounds, 41.64,
photo by PhotoRun.net
For the second night in a row, we watched history be made. I should have known last night when the USA 4 x 100m relay team of Tianna Madison to Jenebah Tarmoh to Bianca Knight to Lauryn Williams, wih superb hand offs, ran a sizzling 41.64. How sizzling you ask? Well, dear reader, like third fastest time of ALL times, only behind the 41.60 ran by the GDR team at the Moscow Olympics (1 August 1980), and the World record of 41.37, again run by the GDR team on 6 October 1985.
On top of that, the US women’s 4 x 100m had not taken home gold since 1996. Something needed to change.
The 4 x 100 meter relay, when executed well, is a thing of beauty. It can also go from thing of beauty to major screwup in one hand off. Think of it this way, the faster you run, the shorter time you have for a good hand-offs.
The US has great sprinters, that is a fact. However, getting those sprinters to pass a baton around the track successfully has been another thing.
Tonight was a different story.
The team for the final was Tianna Madison on leg 1, Allyson Felix on leg 2, Bianca Knight on leg 3 and Carmelita Jeter.
The race went off perfectly for the US team. Tianna Madison, the 2005 World Champion in the long jump, who told reporters later, ” I probably have not run a relay since college, but these women are professionals, and it was fun to run with them,”, flew down the track. Madison also completed a near perfect hand off to Allyson Felix. Oh, and I forgot, as Madison was primed, she had run a pb of 10.85 in the 100 meter final, taking fifth.
Allyson Felix, who had run 10.89 PB for sixth in the 100 meters and taken gold in the 200 meters (21.88), loves relays. Felix took that baton and just opened up some daylight between Team USA and the Jamaican team.
Felix handed off to Bianca Knight, one of the two dynamos who ran in both the rounds and the final (Madison was the other). Bianca is one tough turn runner, she just sizzled around the turn, handing off to the already primed Carmelita Jeter.
Carmelita Jeter is a great anchor leg. The girl just smells that finish and she will take anyone apart who tries to get between her and that finish line. Jeter took the baton and just charged down the track, looking up at the clock, and seeing, 37 seconds, 38 seconds. ” I knew we were running fast, I just did not think 40.82!” Carmelita said later.
As Jeter saw the finish clock with 40.82, she let out a collective scream for all the US women relay teams who have had frustrating experiences getting the baton around the track.
This relay was more than perfect, it was, okay, don’t pass out, fun!
” We laughed and joked before the relay. We were very relaxed.” noted Tianna Madison. ” I was telling Carmelita that we could get the world record, but I was kind of joking, ” add Bianca Knight.
” We ran so well! I was able to watch Tianna, then Allyson, then Bianca, ” noted Carmelita.
” I kind of looked up at the screen and saw 37, 38, I knew we were running fast, but I never thought 40.82!” said a smiling Carmelita. “It feels great. We ran as a team. Everyone ran a great leg and we got that stick around and a gold medal and a world record.”
Allyson Felix was highly complementary of her team mates, “It’s a relief – a joy. We went into it so comfortable. We were laughing. We were very comfortable in practice with each other.”
On the WR, Tianna Madison noted, “I’m not surprised (on the gold medal) based on the first round and clean baton passes.”
Bianca Knight, was all smiles after the final, “I’m happy to be part of a world-record and gold-medal relay in my first Olympics. After the first round, I knew the Olympic record was possible. We went out there and executed and got a world record.”
40.82 is now the world record for women. If the men’s team had such good hand offs, they would run 37.01–anything is possible in this new world.
Women’s 4 x 100 m relay, 1. USA, 40.82, WR, 2. Jamaica, 41.41NR, 3. Ukraine, 42.04NR, 4. Nigeria, 42.64, SB, 5. Germany, 42.67, 6. Netherlands, 42.70, 7. Brazil, 42.91, Trinidad, DNF