Veronica Campbell-Brown crosses the finish line ahead of Allyson Felix and Kerron Stewart (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Veronica Campbell

Women's 200m - FINAL

Veronica CampbellBrown became only the second woman is history to successfully defend the Olympic 200m title as Jamaica once again served a knock out blow to US sprint hopes.

All week, here inside the Bird's Nest Stadium, the reggae boys and girls from the remarkable nation of sprint champions have bruised US egos and they did it again tonight at the expense of two-time World champion Allyson Felix, who had to settle for the silver medal for the second successive Olympics.
Campbell-Brown was imperious as she blasted to the quickest time over 200m for ten years and climbed to joint eighth on the all-time lists with a sizzling 21.74.

Felix did run a season's best of 21.93 - only the second time in the history of the event two women have dipped below 22 seconds in the final - but that will be of little consolation to the American.

Jamaica's Kerron Stewart dealt the USA a further bloody nose as she edged a tight battle for bronze by 0.01 from Muna Lee.

Victory for Campbell-Brown made up for the bitter disappointment of missing out on the Jamaican 100m team - she finished fourth at the trials - but as she was entered for just one individual event in Beijing it may have focused the mind and worked in her favour.

The 26-year-old Jamaican now matches the feat of East German Barbel Wockel, who won back to back Olympic 200m titles in 1976 and 1980, and she vowed to attempt to make history and land a hat-trick of titles.

"I have four more years (until the London 2012 Games)," said Campbell-Brown. "If I can stay like this. Fear is not something I bring to the track."

Felix, meanwhile, was putting a brave face on defeat.

"The start was bad. The lane was bad, but I'm blessed to be here in this position," she explained. "I'm not surprised, but I'm disappointed. I expected more from myself." 

The final was expected to be a tight showdown between Felix and Campbell-Brown, although in reality the 'head to head' battle was over in the first 50m as the Jamaican running in lane four caught the stagger and passed a shellshocked Felix.

The defending champion entered the straight with a slight advantage from Stewart and American Muna Lee, who had made an agressive start from the outside lane nine. Felix, however, had conceded five metres on Campbell-Brown and was down in fourth.

Coming out of the transition phase, though, Campbell-Brown put down the hammer and opened into a clear advantage. Stewart appeared her nearest pursuer with Felix at last starting to haul back into contention.

The final quarter of the race was all about the leader and the time as she maintained her clear three metre advantage.

Felix battled back with her Gazelle-type stride to claim the silver with Stewart adding a 200m bronze to the 100m silver she won on Sunday in 22.00. Lee had to settle for the cruel fourth spot in a personal best of 22.01.

The third US athlete, Marshevet Hooker, set a personal best of 22.34 for fifth - 0.02 ahead of Sherone Simpson.

Behind the blanket of US and Jamaican sprinters, the bronze medallist from the 2004 Athens Games, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of Bahamas claimed seventh in 22.61 - 0.07 ahead of Cydonie Mothersill, the first ever Olympic track and field finalist from the Cayman Islands.

Steve Landells for the IAAF