LONDON -- Allyson Felix won the women's 200 meters at the London Games in 21.88 seconds, adding a gold medal to her previous two Olympic individual silver medals and highlighting a medal haul for the United States in track and field Wednesday night.
At the U.S. Olympic trials, Felix, 26, had run 21.69, history's fourth-fastest performance, to become the favorite in London. She finished fifth in the 100 meters Saturday, an event she used to help her prepare for the speed and endurance required in the 200.
It paid off Wednesday, as Felix crossed the finish line with a smile of relief on her face after settling for silver in the 200 meters in 2004 and 2008.
"I mean, finally," she said after the race.
"It's been a long time coming. I am so overjoyed."
Running in Lane 7, she could not see any of her main challengers until she exited the curve, except for her countrywoman, Carmelita Jeter, who was outside in Lane 9. Jeter, who took silver in the 100, got bronze in the 200 in 22.14.
But it hardly mattered that Felix had a limited view of her opponents. She surged coming out of the curve to pass the two-time defending Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica.
Felix held her elegant form nicely and pulled away in the homestretch, becoming the only sprinter to finish under 22 seconds. Campbell-Brown faded to fourth, while her fellow Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the two time Olympic 100-meter champion, took silver in 22.09. "To twice lose to the same person, it's been tough," Felix said, referring to Campbell-Brown.
"But it's all paying off."
Twice before, Felix came into the Olympics on even footing, or even a slight favorite, against Campbell-Brown. Both times, the American ended up disappointed -- and the last time in Beijing, choking back tears, she called it "deja vu, and not in a good way."
This time, there would be no regrets, and nobody can say Felix didn't earn it.
Joining Fraser-Pryce, Felix, Campbell-Brown and Jeters was the 400 Olympic champion, Sanya Richards-Ross.
"I don't think you could ever put eight ladies like that again in a race," Fraser-Pryce said.
"I would never run."
Had this race been only 140 meters, Fraser-Pryce would have another gold. But Felix has another gear in the 200, and she quickly made up her deficit and then pulled away. When she crossed the line, her reaction was calm. A big smile. Arms raised. Not much else.
"I knew if I ran my race, it would come together," Felix said.
She is, according to USATF, the most decorated woman in 200-meter history. She now has seven Olympic and world championship medals at the distance.
Richards-Ross, who finished fifth, said Felix "definitely deserves this moment. ... She's wanted this for a very long time."olympics
First Published August 9, 2012 4:00 AM