Olympics 2012: U.S. women win 4x400 relay to give Allyson Felix 3rd gold

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It marked yet another success for a U.S. track team that had pegged 30 as the goal to reach at the London Olympics. After Felix and her teammates were finished, the men’s 4x100 relay team and high jumper Brigetta Barrett both took silver to lift the U.S. team to 29. The marathon closes out the track schedule Sunday, with 2004 silver medalist Meb Keflezighi in the race.

“I think the pressure was on to go out and do what we are capable of doing,” Trotter said of the 30-medal goal. “I think we finally hit the mark this time. We hit the center of the target. We got it done.”

The track meet could have been an even more rousing success for the United States had the men done more in the sprints they dominated for decades, until Usain Bolt came around.

But that’s not Felix’s fault.

And she’ll leave London having accomplished the same things he did at these games: Three gold medals and one world record. Felix got hers (40.82 seconds) Friday night as part of the 4x100 relay team. Bolt got his in Saturday night’s men’s 4x100 (36.84).

Felix does have one loss — her fifth-place finish in the 100 meters to open the Olympics. That was the race she qualified for after finishing in a dead heat for third at Olympic trials, then earning the spot when her teammate, Jeneba Tarmoh, dropped out of a run-off for the spot.

Felix said she used the 100 for tuneup purposes. It turned out to be quite a good use of her time.

The 26-year-old has dabbled both in the 100 and 400 over her career, which made her that rare runner who could help her team in both relays. A chance to pick up more hardware, as well — and anyone who knows America’s history in the 4x400 knows there’s a very good chance the hardware can be of the golden variety. The U.S. has won the 4x400 at every Olympics and world championship since 2007 and is undefeated at the Olympics since 1996.

“That’s the Dream Team, all day,” said Trotter, who also took bronze in the 400 meters.

Some track touts, knowing that Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills had handed Richards-Ross her only loss in the 400 this year, predicted Jamaica — or maybe Russia — might give the United States a run in this race.

Sounded good in theory.

“On paper, it seemed like it was going to be a great race,” Richards-Ross said. “But by the time I got the stick, we had already dominated the race.”

It’s a great moment for the 27-year-old Jamaican native, as well.

Richards-Ross has dual citizenship and her parents moved to the U.S. when she was 12, in part because there were better training opportunities available in the States.

These days, she’s married to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Aaron Ross, who has two Super Bowl rings at home that will now share space with a few more gold medals. Richards-Ross has fought on and off the last five years with a hard-to-diagnose illness that causes fatigue and skin lesions. She fought with her own emotions after a disappointing bronze medal in the 400 in 2008.

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