|After settling for bronze in 2008, American runner Sanya Richards-Ross wno gold in the 400m Sunday. (US Presswire)|
Now that swimming competition is over, we turn our attention to the track, where Americans hope their stars can live up to their expectations the way the ones in the pool did all last week.
The first chance -- and confirmation -- of such hype came Sunday when Sanya Richards-Ross, America's best female middle-distance runner, took gold Sunday in the women's 400 meters. Richards-Ross crossed the finish line in 49.55 seconds, her first-place finish signaling her official ownership in the event. This outcome, if it wasn't expected, was certainly at the very least anticipated by those in Richards-Ross' camp as well as track experts around the world.
Four years ago, at the Beijing Games, Richards-Ross had realistic sights and goals on the gold in the same event. Instead, she ran the race in 49.93, which got her the bronze. So who won that race in Beijing? Ah, we have a storyline, and some revenge here, as the '08 gold medal winner, Christine Ohuruogu, of Great Britain, took silver this time around.
Ohuruogu was slow to start, and in the final turn, in sixth place -- then she hit the afterburners and nearly stole the race from Richards-Ross. Ohuruogu finished in 49.70 seconds, .8 seconds slower than her 2008 run. American DeeDee Trott took bronze with a 49.72 sprint.
Richards-Ross was also not in great position three-fourths of the way through the event. In fact, she was in fourth coming into the final turn down the stretch, and then she found the speed, just enough to hold off the screaming Ohuruogu. If the race was 410 meter instead of 400, there's no guarantee Richards-Ross would have taken top spot.