USA women break world recordAgence France-Presse . London
The United States smashed one of the oldest world records on Friday when they won the women’s Olympic 4x100m relay title in 40.82sec.
The quartet sliced more than half a second off the 27-year-old record of 41.37sec set by the former East Germany in 1985, four years before the Berlin Wall fell.
The Americans beat home arch-rivals Jamaica, who timed 41.41sec, while Ukraine took bronze in 42.04sec.
The 100m silver medalist and 200m bronze medallist Carmelita Jeter anchored the team to gold with a devastating burst down the final stretch and screamed for joy after she crossed the line.
Jeter, the 32-year-old who has become a leading sprinter late in life under the auspices of legendary coach John Smith, said she had no doubts about the ability of her three teammates.
‘I knew that these girls were going to run their hearts out,’ said Jeter.
‘I knew we were running fast. I was already pointing at the clock, saying ‘there it is’.
‘There was a cloud hanging over us, with people saying ‘they can’t do this, they’re going to drop the stick’ but we did it.
‘I knew that if we got the stick around then all I had to do was to bring it home.’
It was a second gold at the London Games for 200m champion Allyson Felix while Tianna Madison and Bianca Knight completed the quartet.
‘It’s an honour to be part of this team. Who would have thought that we would have had a world record tonight? It’s amazing,’ beamed Felix, who had ended her drought in the Olympic 200 metres at the third attempt.
‘Our names are going down in history,’ she added.
It was the United States’ first Olympic gold in the event since the 1996 Atlanta Games and only their first medal since the 2000 Sydney Games, where they took bronze.
‘It’s a relief,’ said Felix.
‘When we went into this, we were the most comfortable I have seen this team. We were laughing and smiling and I have never seen the team like that.’
‘It was a combination of practice and being comfortable with each other. Everyone has been having fantastic years,’ added the 26-year-old.
The Jamaicans were gracious in defeat, satisfied to have run a national record and accepting that the Americans were too strong this time round.
‘Not surprised they took the record,’ said veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown.
‘The USA have more depth than us. I had a feeling they were going to do it, they had four solid legs. But we did really well.’
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who successfully defended her 100m title earlier in the Games, said the Americans were the better quartet but could not resist a dig at their expense.
‘The Americans were better than us. We have had enough celebrations in Jamaica already.’
The previous record was set by a team produced by the East German sporting machine. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the extent of systematic doping under the Communist regime emerged.
The oldest women’s world record on the books is Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 800m mark of 1:53.28, set in 1983.
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