POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 9, 2012
LONDON » No more heartbreak for Allyson Felix. No more silver, either.
Denied twice on the world's biggest stage, Felix won the Olympic gold medal she's been yearning for, taking the 200 meters Wednesday night to fill the last, and biggest, hole in her otherwise stellar resume.
Felix won the race in 21.88 seconds, topping Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100 four nights earlier, by .21 seconds. American Carmelita Jeter added bronze to go with her silver in the 100 meters.
"I think it was all for a reason," Felix said. "It kept me motivated and it made this moment very special. It was a big weight being lifted."
She won easily, leaving nothing to chance — or a coin flip that caused such a flap at Olympic trials — as she hugged the line around the curve, then burst ahead of Fraser-Pryce with 40 meters to go and gave coach Bobby Kersee another gold medal to celebrate.
Finishing fourth was Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown, who defeated Felix in the Athens and Beijing Games and was trying to become the first woman to win the same individual track and field event in three consecutive Olympics.
Instead, the Americans were the ones celebrating three straight, their own 15 minutes of fame: Felix, followed quickly by Aries Merritt in the 110 hurdles and Brittney Reese in the long jump.
"We are always aware of what the medal count is," said Jason Richardson, who finished second to Merritt in the hurdles as part of a seven-medal day at the track for the United States. "I know track and field can ... let the world know the Americans are the best track and field country."
Reese, a two-time world champion, became only the second American woman to win the long jump at the Olympics, leaping 23 feet, 41/2 inches (7.12 meters) on her second attempt. Jackie Joyner-Kersee gave the U.S. its other gold in 1988.
Janay Deloach added a bronze and now the Americans head into the last four days of the Olympics with 20 medals at the track — 10 away from fulfilling their "Project 30" aspirations for the London Games.
In 2011, Felix and Kersee harbored visions of an Olympic double in the 200 and 400 meters. That turned out to be misguided, and at the world championships, Felix settled for silver in the 400 and an uncharacteristic bronze in the 200.
Wednesday also was the first day of the decathlon, and Ashton Eaton put himself in position not only to break the Olympic record, but to give himself an outside chance at topping his own world mark.
His day began by breaking Bill Toomey's 44-year-old Olympic record in the decathlon 100-meter dash, finishing in 10.35 seconds. He ended it with a solid performance in the 400, bursting across the line in 46.90. In between, Eaton was first in the long jump, 11th in the shot put and second in the high jump.
"Gotta go," he said after the evening session. "Early morning."
After five events, Eaton has a 220-point advantage over fellow American Trey Hardee. The 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters await today.
Eaton, 24, broke the decathlon world record at the U.S. trials in June when he finished with 9,039 points.
Germany's 500-meter K-4 team lost an Olympic final for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games, falling to a Hungarian quartet that had finished second at the past three Summer Games.
Hungary's other gold came in the men's 1,000-meter K-2, although there was a 20-second wait before the result of a photo finish with a fast-finishing Portugal was relayed to the teams and the crowd of about 20,000 at Dorney Lake.
Germany claimed its first gold of the competition when European champion Sebastian Brendel won the 1,000-meter C-1, and Eirik Veras Larsen of Norway produced a late surge to capture the men's kayak 1,000 meters.
Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, riding Nino des Buissonnets, won the gold for individual show jumping. Gerco Schroder of the Netherlands, riding London, beat Cian O'Connor of Ireland, on Blue Loyd 12, in a jump-off for silver.
China completed a sweep of all four Olympic table tennis titles with a 3-0 victory over South Korea in the men's team final. China has won 24 of 28 gold medals since the sport entered the Olympic program in 1988.
China's Wu Jingyu got another gold medal in the women's 48-kilogram division, dominating Spain's Brigitte Yague in an 8-1 victory in the final.
Spain's Joel Gonzalez won the men's 58-kg category, beating South Korea's Lee Dae-hoon 17-8 to secure his first Olympic medal.
Japan won a pair of women's freestyle wrestling events, with Kaori Icho taking the 63-kilogram division and Hitomi Obara finishing on top of the 48-kg category.
Icho became the first Japanese woman to capture the same event in three straights Olympics. She beat Jing Ruixue of China 3-0, 2-0 to extend her winning streak to 72 matches.