Gold medal winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, right, of Jamaica gets a hug… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
LONDON -- The sound of thousands of voices singing "God Save the Queen" was a powerful note in a day of stirring achievements. The celebration was for the heptathlon triumph ofBritain'sJessica Ennis, but nearly every athlete who put foot or prosthetic leg on the field Saturday deserved a tribute.
From the historic Olympic debut of double-amputee Oscar Pistorius to American Galen Rupp's exhilarating runner-up finish behind training partner Mo Farah in the men's 10,000 and ending with a convincing 100-meter victory by 2008 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce that might start a flood of Jamaican wins, the competition was riveting.
"It's been a brilliant couple of days," Ennis said, adding that her tears were easily explained. "Just actually realizing that I've achieved one of my greatest goals. You never quite think that you can get there, and when you do, it's really overwhelming."
Not every performance was as dramatic as Rupp's kick to the finish line in 27 minutes 30.90 seconds, just behind Farah's 27:30.42, but there were many memorable moments.
Fraser-Pryce's 10.75-second sprint kept her ahead of world champion Carmelita Jeter of Gardena, who ran a season-best 10.78. Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica was third in 10.81, also a season-best, followed by personal-best times from Americans Tianna Madison (10.85) and Allyson Felix (10.89).
"It was a tough race. I gave it my all," Jeter said. "I got a medal at the Olympics. It feels so good."
Felix took the result calmly. "I just feel really good going into the 200," she said, "and my speed is where it needs to be and I am motivated."
U.S. long jumper Will Claye won a bronze medal with a leap of 26 feet 7 3/4 inches. Although far from British winner Greg Rutherford's leap of 27-3 1/4, he was a half-inch from fourth place. "It pumps me up more for the triple jump now," Claye said. "I'll come back stronger."
Saturday morning, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics when he went to the line for a first-round heat of the 400. He ran a season-best 45.44 seconds and advanced to Sunday's semifinals. "It's just an unbelievable experience," he said.
In a later heat, defending 400-meter Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt dropped out because of discomfort in his tender left hamstring. His place in the 1,600 relay pool could be in jeopardy.
The other two Americans advanced to the semifinals. Bryshon Nellum of USC was timed in 45.29 seconds and Tony McQuay in 45.48. "It was like a dream come true," Nellum said of his experience.
Usain Bolt, the world-record holder and Beijing gold medalist in the 100 and 200, stumbled early in his heat but recovered and cruised to the line in 10.09 seconds. "I'm running well. I'm happy. Training is great," he said.
The fastest qualifying time was by Ryan Bailey of Long Beach, who tied a personal best of 9.88. "Stupid, crazy fast," said compatriot Justin Gatlin, who was timed in 9.97 seconds. Tyson Gay of the U.S. (10.08) also advanced.
World champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica won his heat in 10.0 seconds.
Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis, a five-time world championship medalist, was expelled by team officials for leaving the Olympic village to join his wife at a hotel. "Even men in prison get their wives to visit," he said via Twitter.
In the semifinals of the women's 400, DeeDee Trotter ran a season-best 49.87, Sanya Richards-Rosscomfortably ran 50.07 and Francena McCorory ran 50.19 to reach Sunday's final.Russia's Antonina Krivoshapka had the top time of 49.81.
"Americans aren't historically very strong in the 400, and that has changed in the last couple of years," Richards-Ross said. "I really hope we can all grab a medal tomorrow."
The oldest competitors in the men's 400-meter hurdles semifinals were among the swiftest: Athens gold medalist and USC alum Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, nearly 35, and Sydney and Beijing champion Angelo Taylor of the U.S., who's 33. Sanchez ran a season-best 47.76 seconds and Taylor a season-best 47.95. Kerron Clement (season-best 48.12) qualified on time after finishing third in his heat, and fellow American Michael Tinsley (season-best 48.18) won his heat.
Sanchez said he did a double-take when he saw he had run his fastest time since Athens. "It's one thing to train well, but it's another thing to come out here and execute and put it out there on a competitive stage," he said.
Taylor said Sanchez "ran a good race today, but he has to do it again in the final. He's going to have all the heavy hitters in the final."
Taylor said his own strategy needs to change. "Attack the last two hurdles. I've got to attack them hard," he said. "I do that, I win this race."
Beijing discus gold medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton of Galt, Calif., finished eighth with a top throw of 206-8, 20 feet short of winner Sandra Perkovic of Croatia. "It's hard to stay on top, and it's even harder to get that second gold," Brown Trafton said.
Beijing heptathlon silver medalist Hyleas Fountain of Daytona Beach, Fla., dropped out before the 800 because of back pain. Sharon Day of Costa Mesa was 15th and Chantae McMillan of Rolla, Mo., was 29th.
Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbaeva of Russia led a group that cleared 14-11 and advanced to Monday's final. Jenn Suhr of Fredonia, N.Y., the Beijing silver medalist, also qualified by clearing 14-11. Lacy Janson of Sarasota, Fla., didn't advance.