Shelly-Ann, Parchment romp to medals
One silver and historic bronze, who could ask for more?
LONDON, England — Two brilliant and well-timed races — both lowering the national record — by Hansle Parchment on his way to Jamaica's first ever medal in the Olympic men's 110m hurdles almost upstaged a gritty silver medal from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the women's 200m final at Olympic Stadium here last night as Jamaica added two more medals to the tally.
On a night when the weather warmed up noticeably from the chilly conditions that prevailed over the previous two days, Jamaica celebrated two more medals to be fourth in the track and field table — two gold, two silver and two bronze — and 23rd overall on the medals table.
Jamaica missed a third medal when Kaliese Spencer finished fourth in the 400m hurdles final, the third straight global championships where she finished just outside the medals, following the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany in 2009 and Daegu, South Korea last year.
Jamaica's medal rush will continue today when Usain Bolt goes after his second Olympic sprint sweep, while the men's 4x400m relay team and the women's 4x100m teams will run their preliminaries.
In the women's 200m final, American Allyson Felix won her first Olympic title, running 21.88 seconds to deny Fraser-Pryce the double and Veronica Campbell Brown a historic third gold, as the two-time defending champion finished fourth behind another American Carmelita Jeter. Felix had finished second to Campbell Brown in Athens and again in Beijing.
Fraser-Pryce ran a personal best 22.09 seconds, Jeter took her second medal of the Games with 22.14 seconds, while Campbell Brown ran 22.38 seconds, just edging Sanya Richards-Ross (22.39 seconds) for fourth place.
Fraser-Pryce said the double was the hardest she had done in a long time. “A silver medal in the 200m, what more could I have asked for? Everybody wants to win and you want to have that double gold medal, but it didn't happen.”
Fraser-Pryce said the strength she got was not her own, but from a higher source of inspiration. “I have to give God thanks for everything, the strength that I have is really Him, it was all Him today,” she said.
“I trusted Him and I said you know what God, it's all you today I don't think I have the strength to go out there to do a next 200m,” said the diminutive sprinter, known as the ‘Pocket Rocket’.
Fraser-Pryce dedicated the medal to her MVP teammates, none of whom has managed to get an individual medal at the Games. “My teammates did not get an individual medal, but in their disappointment I share with them, I train with them, I see how hard they work, they haven't gotten one yet, but I share mine with them because in my success they are there for me,” said the jovial Jamaican.
Fraser-Pryce laughed and said she hoped she would not have to run the double again anytime soon. “The double was very, very difficult, this was like training, (with coach Stephen Francis) telling me to lift those knees and driving those arms.”
Campbell Brown, who had won in Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years later, left a major championships without a medal in the 200m for the first time since the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 2005, but said she was grateful.
“The objective was to at least get a medal, but it wasn't in my favour this time, so it's OK… it's been a rough few weeks for me (and) it’s faith why I am here pushing through,” she said.
Twenty-two year-old UWI Mona student Parchment lowered Dwight Thomas's year-old national record from 13.15 seconds to 13.14 seconds in the semi-finals, and two hours later he smashed it, running 13.12 seconds for an unexpected, but brilliant bronze.
Parchment, who also surpassed Maurice Wignall's fourth place achieved in Athens, has lowered his personal best a mind-boggling five times this season, proving his wins at the JN/Jamaica International Invitational was not a fluke.
He finished behind two Americans — Aries Meritt who ran a personal best 12.92 seconds and world champion Jason Richardson (13.04) — and said he was “very happy” with what he was able to do. “I wish I was a little happier, if I had run a sub 13.00-second time, but it was still good for me,” said Parchment.
While his reaction time was the second slowest, faster than only Richardson, Parchment told journalists that “the start was OK for me”. “I am not worried about it really... I usually build up in the middle of the race, (and) that's where I caught up with them.”
Teammate Richard Phillips had crashed out of the semi-finals earlier in the afternoon.
Spencer ran her season's best twice this week — 54.02 seconds in the first round on Sunday, then 53.66 seconds last night and said she had done her best.
Spencer was in medal contention up to the eighth hurdle, trailing the Russian Natalya Antyukh, who won in a personal best 52.70 seconds and American world champion Lashinda Demus (a season's best 52.77 seconds), but was passed by the Cezech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova, who ran a season's best 53.38 seconds to take the medal.
“I ran a season's best so I can't be hurt by that,” Spencer told reporters. “It has been a trying season… I have been hurt and injured and have had to watch training from the sidelines,” Spencer added.
Kenia Sinclair was unable to report for the start of the first round of the 800m in the morning session due to the effects of injuries that have plagued her all season.