We're over halfway through the track and field competition, and in case you're just joining us in this "team standings" column, Bleacher Report is keeping score. Not a medals count—we're actually scoring places one through eight in every event finals, just like a high school or college track meet.
So let's look at the results of today's competition and then move into the updated standings and analysis.
After two successive silvers in 2004 and 2008, USA's Allyson Felix finally got her elusive gold medal, winning the women's 200-meter final in 21.88 seconds. She has been in a zone of late, being the only woman in the world to consistently dip below 22 seconds. The Jamaican blur, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, who captured gold earlier in the 100, was a stride behind in 22.09.
The American silver medalist in the 100, Carmelita Jeter, was a close third in 22.14. Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown (22.30), who once ruled the 200 like no other, nipped Sanya Richards-Ross (22.39) for fourth place.
Just as Felix dominated the 200 this year, American hurdler Aries Merritt has held court over the men's short hurdles. And he validated his reign with a win in the 110 hurdles in a personal best 12.92. Compatriot Jason Richardson gained the silver medal in 13.04. Dark-horse finalist Hansle Parchment set a Jamaican national record in placing third in 13.12.
Defending Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba pulled up mid-race from an apparent hamstring injury and did not finish.
In the women's long jump final, Brittney Reese (USA) executed only two legal jumps but it was enough as she won with a leap of 23 feet, 4.5 inches which was barely longer than the silver medal jump of Russia's Elena Sokolova, 23'3". American Janay DeLoach nabbed the bronze.
It took a personal best 52.70 seconds for Russia's Natalya Antyukh to clip USA's Lashinda Demus (52.77) for gold in the women's 400-meter hurdles final. But silver for Demus (mother of twins) is not bad at all in this grueling race. Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic finished third.
Now let's see how this all washes out in the team standings.
|Men's Team Scores||Women's Team Scores||Overall Scores|
| USA 92 || USA 108 || USA 200|
| Great Britain 34 || Russia 66 || Russia 78|
| Kenya, Jamaica 24 || Jamaica 41 || Jamaica 65|
| Germany 22 || Ethiopia 38 || Great Britain, Ethiopia 58|
| Ethiopia 20 || Kenya 30 || Kenya 54|
| China 19 || Germany 25 || Germany 48|
| Dominican Republic 15 || Great Britain 24 || China 39|
| Russia 12 || China 20 || Ukraine 27|
| Australia 10 || Belarus 12 || Australia 18|
Note: We're using an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system
Wow! The American women had a big day. Much of that was due to favorable scheduling, but the U.S. ladies picked up 18 points in the women's 200 and 14 in the long jump. Thirty-two points right there.
With no distance races on the docket today, the East Africans were dead in the water, and it shows, as both Ethiopia and Kenya dropped a notch in the standings. Opportunities to score are still ahead though, including an almost guaranteed eight points tomorrow in the men's 800 (see below).
The USA men and women are definitely separating from the pack now (and my secret wish for a tight battle in the women's standings right up to Saturday's 4x400 relay final has almost evaporated).
You know how some things are known to you instinctively yet until you see it in black and white, it doesn't really hit home? Scoring the track and field competition has really crystallized for me just how strong the USA men's and women's teams truly are.
Some U.S. performances have been less than optimal but there have also been pleasant surprises coming from unexpected places.
Collectively, US track is the strongest team in the world (this coming from someone who really attempts to maintain neutrality when reporting international competition). What a shame that uniquely in America, track and field is relegated to "niche sport" status.
Thursday will bring the conclusion of the decathlon competition. Americans Ashton Eaton (4661 points) and Trey Hardee (4441) are the clear front-runners after five disciplines. But the decathlon is so unforgiving that a single slip can spell disaster. Good luck to all competitors.
For the British locals, the failure of Phillips Idowu to make the men's triple jump finals was a big blow. And the injury to Frenchman, Teddy Tamgho was a critical loss for those across The Channel. That leaves it for Americans Will Claye and Christian Taylor to claim at least two podium spots, and I'm sure they would prefer gold and silver.
In the men's 800-meter final, there is probably no surer bet for gold than Kenya's David Rudisha. Maybe he can give the Kenyan team the jolt they need to meet their potential. With everyone else in the race running in a different time zone, silver and bronze are up for grabs.
We've yet to see a remarkable time in the men's 200 meters this year. That should change in the final. Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Wallace Spearmon, Christophe Lemaitre. Place your bets.
Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic), Sunette Viljoen (South Africa), Mariya Abakumova (Russia), and Christina Obergfoll (Germany). No disrespect to the other women's javelin finalists, but there are your contenders right there. Should be a thrilling event to watch.
Look for my column again tomorrow for a recap, updated standings and analysis.
Enjoy the Games!
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