Britain's Christine Ohuruogu (1819) crossing the finish line to win gold in the women's 400-meter final on Tuesday. David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip/AP)
BEIJING: A painful year behind them and the finish line in front of them, Sanya Richards of the United States and Christine Ohuruogu of Britain pushed forward Tuesday night with the Olympic gold medal in the 400 meters in the balance.
The 400 is a brutal race: a one-lap, two-pronged test of speed and resilience, and though Richards had demonstrated plenty of both to arrive at this final as the favorite, she once again could not translate her success on the Grand Prix circuit into success at a major championship.
Despite starting with a vengeance and despite carrying a big lead into the last 100 meters, Richards unexpectedly lost her edge and her speed in the final straight away. It looked at first like she was paying the price for having been too ambitious too early, but Richards said the problem was actually in her leg.
"I got to the 320 mark and my right hamstring kind of grabbed on me, and I just thought, 'This is unreal, this is worse than my worst nightmare," Richards said. "I tried to hold them off."
She could not, and Ohuruogu took the gold in 49.62 seconds, the slowest winning time in an Olympic 400 since 1972. Richards slumped to third in 49.93, more than a second off her personal best, with Shericka Willams surging past her to give Jamaica its latest track medal in a time of 49.69.
|Your name: *|
|Your email: *|
|Recepient's email: *|
|Enter code: *|