Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bolt wins third Olympic 100m title; van Niekerk smashes 400 WR; Andrade & Allen compete on Monday...

RIO DE JANEIRO—The fireworks continued on the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange track Sunday night, as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won his third Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter dash, and South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk (left/photo by Paul Merca) smashed American Michael Johnson’s Olympic record of 43.49 set 20 years ago, and oh, by the way, took down his 1999 world record of 43.18 set at the 1999 world championships by running a stunning 43.03.

Despite a slow start, Bolt overtook American Justin Gatlin at about the 75 meter mark to win his third straight Olympic 100 meter title in a time of 9.81 to Gatlin’s 9.89.  That victory will certainly stamp Bolt’s legacy as one of this generation’s greatest sprinters, with only the 200 and the 4 x 100 relay left on his plate for the rest of this meet.

Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, a former Pac-12 sprint champ from USC, was third in 9.91, as the top six broke 10 seconds.

Before the men’s 100, South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk took .15 seconds off of Michael Johnson’s 43.18 world record in winning the Olympic title in 43.03.

van Niekerk ran blind in lane 8 for the duration of the race, and somehow found another gear exiting the final turn.

Grenada’s Kirani James, the defending Olympic champion, was second in 43.76, while LaShawn Merritt of the USA was third in 43.85.

In other Sunday action:

—The USA placed three runners in the top nine in the women’s marathon, as Shalane Flanagan of the Portland-based Bowerman TC finished sixth in 2:25:27, while Des Linden, who is sponsored by Seattle-based Brooks Running was seventh in 2:26.08.  Flanagan’s Bowerman TC teammate Amy Cragg was ninth in 2:28:25.

Jemima Sumgong of Kenya, the winner of the London Marathon earlier this year, won the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the event, running 2:24:04.

—Though she only finished fourth, the USA may have a star in the making as 20-year old Keturah Orji of the University of Georgia broke her own American record in the triple jump, leaping 48-3.25 (14.71m), as Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won the Olympic title with a jump of 49-9.25 (15.17m).

—Allyson Felix, Natasha Hastings, and former Oregon standout Phyllis Francis all advanced to the finals in the women’s 400 on Monday night, while Erik Kynard was the lone American to advance to the finals in the men’s high jump on Tuesday.  Shannon Rowbury, who runs for the Nike Oregon Project, along with former world champ Jenny Simpson, both advanced to the finals in the women’s 1500 that will be contested Tuesday.

Looking ahead to Monday’s competition, two athletes with Washington ties wii be on the track, as Federal Way’s Jordin Andrade, representing Cape Verde, will run in the sixth and final heat of the men’s 400 hurdles, scheduled for 8:10 Seattle time (12:10 pm in Rio).

The University of Oregon’s Devon Allen, the reigning US and NCAA champ who lived for a number of years in the greater Seattle area before moving to Phoenix, will be in the fourth heat of the men’s 110 hurdles for Team USA, scheduled for 5:04 pm Seattle time (9:04 pm in Rio).  A top four finish there advances Allen to the semis Tuesday night, with the final being the last event on Tuesday night.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

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