Women 4 x 400 metres Relay Final
With two-time world junior medallist Sanya Richards injured – she tore her ankle in the heats – the US team had to change its plan.
It was decided that the line up would be Christina Hardeman, Monique Henderson, Tiffany Ross and Lashinda Demus.
Jamaica’s team was composed of Prendergast, Morgan, Carlene Robinson and Camille Robinson.
Russia (Mygunova, Dryakhlova, Gushchina and Popova) and Great Britain (Wall, Spencer, James and Miller) had also strong teams.
In one of the most exciting relays, Jamaica was leading after the first exchange with Russia, Germany and USA trailing behind in this order. When 400m champion Monique Henderson took the baton she decided that she’d run the first half of her lap as fast as she could. At the 200m mark she was clearly in the lead but started to cramp up. She was gradually caught by Sheryl Morgan who had an advance of one metre on Henderson when she handed the baton.
Robinson was followed like a shadow by Ross as 200m champion Vernicha James was handed the baton. James effort – probably the best of all the runners tonight – was incredible and the ground that she made up massive. While Ross was slowly catching up with Robinson, James was rapidly taking the lead. With her, Gushchina of Russia was also catching up on the leaders as Germany was definitively out of contention.
At the bell, there were four teams on the same line with 400m hurdles champion Demus anchoring for the US, Miller for Great Britain, Popova for Russia and Robinson for Jamaica.
Demus was in the lead at the 200-metre mark but was then overtaken by Great Britain and Russia. With 150 metres to go Jamaica had lost touch with the leaders and had lost all chances for a medal.
With 80 metres to go, it seemed that it would be a finishing sprint between Russia and Great Britain, Demus having been blocked in the bend. But 400m hurdles world record holder had some energy left in her tank and crossed the line first in 3:29.95. Great Britain was second in 3:30.46 and Russia took bronze in 3:30.72. All three teams set new national records.
It was a magnificent run by all relay teams but the world record remains the property of East Germany in 3:28.39.