In this series, Bleacher Report is scoring the track and field competition just as if it were a regular track meet. Let's look at today's results and put the latest points on the board.
In one of the most thrilling and anticipated races of the London Games, Jamaica erased all doubt as to who rules the world of men's sprinting.
The last great bastion of contention for the U.S. men, the 4x100-meter relay, came tumbling down—as did Jamaica's own world record in the event.
Usain Bolt took the baton on the final leg with the Americans about even. He finished a single stride ahead of the young U.S. anchor, Ryan Bailey, in an earth-shattering 36.84.
The American team of Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Bailey matched the old record of 37.04.
Trinadad and Tobago claimed bronze, as Canada was disqualified for a lane violation.
The Jamaicans are now 3-for-3 for the second straight Olympics in the men's sprints.
The USA women's 4x400-relay team of Dee Dee Trotter, Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross won gold in a blistering three minutes, 16.87 seconds.
Trailing far back, Russia and Jamaica took silver and bronze, respectively.
The top five finishers all had their season's best times.
In the highly anticipated women's 800, Russia, behind gold medalist Mariya Savinova, went 1-3-6 (for 17 points in our scoring system). The controversial Caster Semenya of South Africa stayed close for the silver medal in 1:57.23.
More points for Russia materialized in the women's high jump final. Anna Chicherova showed the way to a 1-3 finish with a leap of six feet, 8.75 inches.
U.S. collegian Brigetta Barrett took silver, closing out at 6'8."
Great Britain's Mo Farah pulled off one of the toughest doubles in track and field, as he duplicated his earlier 10,000-meter win with a brave-hearted gold medal victory in today's 5,000. He held off all challengers on the final lap, finishing in 13 minutes, 41.66 seconds.
Farah's training partner, Galen Rupp (USA), who has been right at the Brit's side in most races this year, could only muster a seventh-place finish. American Bernard Lagat crossed in fourth.
Surprisingly, Norway and Finland wouldn't grant us an Olympic champion in the men's javelin this Olympiad. The gold medalist came out of...Trinidad and Tobago!
Relative unknown Keshorn Walcott earned the top spot with his throw of 277 feet, six inches (a Trinidad national record).
The men's 50-kilometer race/walk had several subplots: Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin captured the gold medal in an Olympic-record three hours, 35.59 minutes.
Two other countrymen finished 5-6, to give Russia 15 points (in our scoring system) in the event.
The pace was so quick that 17 of the first 20 finishers either established a season's best (five), a personal best (10) or a national record (two).
It was a similar story in the women's 20k race/walk, as the Russians finished 1-2-5 for 19 points in our scoring system. Elena Lashminova set a world record (1:25.02), leading her comrade Olga Kanishkina across the finish line by mere seconds.
Again, the pace drew 17 of the first 20 finishers to either a personal best, season's best or an Asian record.
As we're nearing the end of track and field competition (only the men's marathon remains for Sunday), I'm anxious to tally the scores. Let's have a look.
|Men's Team||Women's Team||Overall Team|
| USA 157 || USA 141 || USA 298|
| Jamaica 53 || Russia 136 || Russia 176.5|
| Great Britain 51.5 || Ethiopia 60 || Jamaica 107|
| Kenya 48 || Germany 55 || Kenya 99|
| Russia 40.5 || Jamaica 54 || Germany 95|
| Germany 53 || Kenya 51 || Ethiopia 90|
| Ethiopia 30 || China 43 || Great Britain 85|
| China 27 || Great Britain 31 || China 70|
Note: we're using an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system for places 8 through 1
It was a huge day for the Russian women. They scored 57 points and almost made a game of it in the women's standings. This was the points race I was hoping for that never materialized. With all the women's events now complete, the center column is finalized
Only the men's marathon remains on Sunday. Although the numbers may change slightly in the men's column, the order of finish is hardening as I write.
Regular followers of track and field may be aware of "Project 30." It is an ambitious goal of 30 medals by the U.S. track and field team in London. After today's action, USA has 29, with a very slim chance of gaining one more in Sunday's marathon.
A quick glance over today's updated standings should leave little doubt that the American team is as strong as ever—particularly the women, who were projected by most pundits to finish behind the Russians.
In the overall Olympic medals count, track and field played a significant role in the U.S. surge in the last 10 days. As I have mentioned here before, I find it perplexing that this sport has such little regard among general U.S. sports fans, outside the Olympics.
One more event to tally tomorrow (men's marathon). I'll have the final results and a brief commentary on our experiment with keeping score here at Bleacher Report. Be sure to check back in for Sunday's column.
Enjoy the rest of the Games!
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