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U.S. men's relay team advances; Oscar Pistorius to run again

August 09, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • Bryshon Nellum, left, of the U.S. and Chris Brown of the Bahamas cross the finish line at the same time.
Bryshon Nellum, left, of the U.S. and Chris Brown of the Bahamas cross the… (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images )

LONDON — The U.S. men’s 1,600-meter relay team got the baton around without incident and tied the Bahamas relay team for the fastest first-round time Thursday as track and field competition resumed at the Olympic Stadium on the first summery day in a while at the Summer Games.

Jamaica'srelay didn't finish the second heat because Jermaine Gonzales pulled up with a leg injury during the third leg. However, South Africa, which didn't finish as the result of a collision involving one of its runners and a Kenyan runner, won a reprieve after it appealed the result. A jury of appeal ruled that the Kenyan was at fault for the incident that caused South Africa's Ofentse Mogawane to fall during the second leg and it advanced South Africa's relay to Friday's final.

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, who made history last week in the 400 by becoming the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics, said on his Twitter account that he will run the third leg on Friday.

The U.S. team of Manteo Mitchell, Josh Mance of Chino and USC, Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum of USC trailed the Bahamas most of the way but anchor Nellum made up enough ground that both the U.S. and the Bahamas were timed at 2 minutes, 58.87 seconds.

Trinidad and Tobago led the first heat with a time of 3:00.38.

In another morning event, five-time Olympian Amy Acuff didn't advance out of the qualifying round in the high jump after she missed three times at 6 feet, 2 3/4 inches. Chaunte Lowe, a Riverside native who lives in Georgia, had no misses in four jumps and cleared 6-4 to advance. Brigetta Barrett of the University of Arizona cleared 6-4 with one miss along the way.

"The performance was a disaster," said Acuff, 37. "The first day off the plane, and with a short approach, I jumped higher than that. I don't know what the deal was."

The effort by the men's relay was commendable. The team's depth had been stretched when LaShawn Merritt pulled out of the 400 because of an injury and Jeremy Wariner, who had been scheduled to run the anchor leg of the relay, tore his hamstring this week.

Wariner, a two-time Olympic medalist in the 400, didn't finish in the top three in the 400 at the U.S. trials but was named to the relay pool.

"It went pretty good," Mance said. "I got boxed in around 250 and it kind of slowed my momentum down. I wanted to do better but I'll take it. I don't know how far back I was but I ended up bringing us back up to second, and that was good. Then Tony ran a tremendous leg, and so did Bryshon.

"I think this will build a lot more confidence for our team. As long as we can get the baton off in the first leg pretty good, tomorrow is going to be a great day for the USA. There's a lot of doubters and we want to go out and show them that the young ones can do it. It's a young team. Tony's 22. Bryshon's 23. I'm 20. We're a real young team but we're trying to prove that us young guys can go out and do it for the United States, because we are the future."

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