- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 23, 2009

BERLIN | Usain Bolt’s third gold medal of the world championships failed to produce a third world record because the Jamaican 400-meter relay team only managed to produce the second-fastest time in history.

“It is a little bit my fault,” an apologetic Bolt said. “I didn’t run the best third leg. I was happy to get around the track and give the baton to Asafa [Powell]. I am dying right now.”

Since the Beijing Olympics, Bolt had won five major gold medals with a world record each time. The world record streak ended in the 400 relay after he set two individual marks in Berlin.

With former world-record holder Powell taking the baton from Bolt for the anchor leg, Jamaica won in 37.31 seconds, a championship record but slower than the world record of 37.10 they set in Beijing last year.

Trinidad and Tobago took silver, and Britain got bronze.

The absence of the record left the ebullient Bolt subdued. Instead of his antics and mimicking, Bolt sat down on the track and stretched. He untied his shoes and hugged Powell.

They planned for a big party in Berlin, though.

“It is top secret where we are going,” Bolt said.

“Anywhere he is going, I am going,” Powell added.

Bolt has plenty of reason to celebrate. The 100 and 200 world-record holder was perfect when it came to his three golds, much like Jesse Owens was 73 years ago when he went 4-for-4 at the same stadium during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

And Saturday, an American took gold in the long jump. During a final laden with symbolism, Dwight Phillips jumped 28 feet, 1/4 inch on his second attempt to win. His main rival, Olympic champion Irving Saladino of Panama, was eliminated with scratches in his first three tries.

Phillips got the gold medal from Owens’ granddaughter, Marlene Hemphill Dortch, smiling and hugging her. Owens won four gold medals in 1936, and as a black athlete became a symbol of racial equality in sports during the days when Adolf Hitler promoted Aryan supremacy.

Despite the long jump victory, it still was a bittersweet day for the American team. The United States failed to make the women’s 400 relay final, with Muna Lee falling to the ground injured after a handoff in the heats.

The injury compounded the U.S. relay problems a day after the men’s team was disqualified from its heat for passing the baton outside the designated zone.

The American women were running a smooth race, but Lee was struggling to get a clean handoff from Alexandria Anderson, the second of four runners. Once she did, she was suddenly overcome by pain, and everything came apart.

Lee hobbled and fell to the ground, clutching her left leg. She was taken off the track on a stretcher, with ice on her leg.

Jamaica ran to victory in 42.06 seconds, beating the Bahamas for silver and Germany for bronze. With Bolt’s relay win, it was Jamaica’s fifth sprint victory at the world championships, extending the country’s overwhelming domination over the Americans.

Abel Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai made sure Kenya is keeping an edge over Ethiopia, finishing 1-2 in the men’s marathon. Kenya rubbed it in at Olympic Stadium later when Vivian Cheruiyot led Kenya to a 1-2 finish in the women’s 5,000 and reduced Ethiopian favorite Meseret Defar to bronze.

Olympic Stadium did see a world record - just not the one it expected. Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland set a world record of 255 feet, 9 inches to win the hammer throw and earn a $160,000 check for winning a title with a record.

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