André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
JAMAICA PICKED up its 10th medal at the Olympic Games last night and will continue the hunt today as the island's Olympians look to close out the games in style later and secure the country's most successful medal haul, as the curtains get set to come down on the London Games.
The team will feature in two finals today - the men's 4x100m and women's 4x400m relay finals, while Taekwondo representative Kenneth Edwards will start his one day +80kg weight class competition at the Excel London Exhibition Centre.
The team of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Kerron Stewart produced a national record, 41.41 for a silver medal in the women's 4x100m but it was not enough to stop a rampant US team with anchor Carmelita Jeter stopping the clock in a world record 40.82, dismantling the old mark of 41.37, which was set by East Germany in 1985.
It was the same Jamaican quartet that raced to 41.70 and a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea last year, but with one major tweak, with Campbell-Brown used on the third leg to maximize her superior ability and experience on the curve with Stewart, who had been toggled between the second and third legs with Simpson in previous teams, moving to anchor.
The change helped the team to its fastest time in history and despite once again losing to the Americans in their ongoing rivalry, the Jamaicans were grateful and extremely proud of their accomplishment and efforts.
"We got a national record and we have to give God thanks because we came here healthy and finished healthy, so I mean that is priority, at the end of the day because you can't run unless you are healthy," said lead off athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Stewart paid homage to the Americans but is certain that the Jamaicans will find a response in the future.
"That just shows you how good the US team is and we are no different, we are also very good, we just need to come together as a team and get it right," said Stewart.
"It's excellent, we break the record last year and again this year, as you can see, we are improving," Campbell-Brown beamed.
All eyes will be on the clock as the two nations go at each other again in today's mouth-watering men's 4x100m relay final.
The American, without 100m finalists Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey were the fastest in qualifying; but barely, posting 37.38 in their win in the heats while the Jamaicans, who rested repeat sprint double champion Usain Bolt, won their heat one-hundreth of a second slower, in 37.39.
"I was just very excited to get out there and get my feet wet, so to speak, I think we executed well. This is the most we have practised over the years that I've been competing and coming to championships and it's just a matter of putting the final piece together," said male team captain Michael Frater.
Nesta Carter, who like Frater and Bolt have been involved in Jamaica's two men's 4x100m world record runs, watched with the rest of the team as the Americans crossed the line in front in their heat and is looking forward to today's clash, while playing down the talk of records.
"People have been saying sub 37 but we first have to try and get the stick around because that's what relays are all about, so the time will come, we don't have to worry about the time," Carter said.
The team was led by young Kemar Bailey-Cole, who made his Olympic debut, with a strong and confident anchor leg.
|3:00||M||50Km Race Walk||Final|
|11:00||W||20Km Race Walk||Final|
|2:25||W||4x400 Metres Relay||Final|
|3:00||M||4x100 Metres Relay||Final|