Gay and Felix lead gold haul for Americans

first_imgTRACK AND FIELD: Sprinters help the U.S. men’s and women’s 400-meter relay teams to victories. By Bob Baum THE ASSOCIATED PRESS OSAKA, Japan – Tyson Gay joined some fast, fast company. USC senior Allyson Felix is a race away from doing the same. The powerhouse pair helped the United States sweep the men’s and women’s 400-meter relays Saturday night at the World Track and Field Championships in noisy, packed Nagai Stadium. Gay joined Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene as the only men to win three gold medals at one world meet. Gay is soft-spoken, but his part-time coach Jon Drummond can talk enough for both of them. “He’s the cheetah,” Drummond said. “He lurks very quietly, you don’t know he’s there, and then he’s there and he jumps out real fast and gets his food. Yeah, he’s the cheetah.” Felix, winner of the 200 meters on Friday night, earned her second gold and can get a third in the women’s 1,600-meter relay in meet’s final session today. Only one other woman has won three golds in the meet’s history – Marita Koch of East Germany at the first world championships in 1983. “I didn’t know that,” Felix said. “It’s special. This was my first relay tonight. It was a great feeling and I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.” Even though he won the 100 and 200 meters earlier in the meet, Gay did not run the anchor leg. He ran third, on the curve, leaving young LeRoy Dixon to match up with world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica in the last 100 meters. “A lot of people were saying I should be on anchor,” said Gay, who ran nine races in eight days in Osaka. “The coaches asked me to run third leg to give us the lead, and we would have no problem.” There was a problem, though, when longtime relay partner and former Arkansas teammate Wallace Spearmon handed off the baton to Gay. “That was the worst handoff we ever had,” Gay said. “I think that shows that just getting the stick around we should be able to be victorious every time.” At the worlds, the U.S. men have won every 400-meter relay in which they didn’t drop the baton or weren’t disqualified. That’s seven titles in 11 world championships. At the last worlds in 2005, they didn’t make it past the first exchange in the qualifying heat. “I’m extremely tired,” Gay said, “but my teammates told me `Let’s come out and do it one more time.”‘ Dixon, sixth in the 100 at the U.S. championships, came through with a strong anchor leg to punctuate the Americans’ 37.78-second victory. “We were questioning it in the beginning about putting me at anchor because we thought the world’s fastest man should be anchor,” he said, “but I guess the coaches knew what they were doing. I guess that’s why we’re the athletes and they’re the coaches.” Felix is the reigning, two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist in the 200, but this was her first relay in either of those major international meets. The 21-year-old ran the second leg, taking the handoff from Lauryn Williams and handing it off smoothly to Mikele Barber. Torri Edwards, a disappointing fourth in the 100 and 200, held off 100-meter champion Veronica Campbell of Jamaica to give the United States the victory in 41.98 seconds. “I definitely didn’t want to go home empty-handed,” Edwards said. The Americans also got a gold from Brad Walker in the pole vault. Heading into today’s final day of competition, the United States has 22 medals, 11 of them gold. Two years ago in Helsinki, the Americans won 25 medals, including a record 14 gold. Walker won by being the first to clear 19 feet, 23/4.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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