London Diaries, Olympics, Day 3: Sanya Richards-Ross Wins 400m
The 400 meters is a race where speed and endurance meet. The human body, apparently, as I have not tried this myself, can run all out for about 300 meters. After that, have some curry and pray to God that you can run that last one hundred meters.
Sanya Richards-Ross has Clyde Hart as her coach. She is a lucky women. Hart is one of the great 400 meter coaches (Jim Bush, Bud Winter, John Smith). Hart is part scientist, part cheerleader, part pragmatist. Clyde Hart has coached a few good ones: Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner come to mind.
But Sanya Richards-Ross has had her own trials of Job (biblical reference, get it out of your hotel drawer). After busting her butt for years, Sanya Richards-Ross won her first Olympic gold medal at the 400 meters the old fashioned way--she earned it. And here is how she earned it!
The race went out hard. Antonia Krovoshapka went out like a bat out of hell. But so did Francesca McCorory, Sanya Richards-Ross, Amantle Montsho and Dee Dee Trotter.
They were even coming off the turn, and as they hit the , 300 mark, Richards-Ross, Krovoshapka and Trotter were together.
In fact, Trotter was making a move, when Richards-Ross charged, and Krovoshapka dropped back. Amantle Montsho could not challenge.
Way back in the field, Christine Ohuruoghu was running the best 400 meters the feisty Brit had run since her gold dash at Osaka. Ohuruoghu went from sixth to second in the final 150 meters.
But, hold on, we are not there yet.
Sanya Richards Ross gutted her way past Dee Dee Trotter, who was not giving up easily. Trotter, healthy after two years of just difficult injuries, was not giving up this fight for crumpets.
Sanya Richards-Ross saw that gold medal and she knew she had to fight for it. She put her head down, and listened to every coach, including Clyde, who had told her, "lean with your torso at that damn finish line, " and she did it.
Trotter leant, just a scant tenth of a second later, as Christine Ohuruoghu came charging through the pack, with 80,000 screaming Brits, hell bent on getting a medal, and that gold one was looking mighty nice with 40 meters to go. Christine Ohuruoghu knew all was up for grabs. She had to instinctively feel it, she is that kind of championship runner (Fact: Last four pbs, sbs, for Christine were set in Championship races).
Ohuruoghu is one of the toughest, guttiest 400 meter runners that I have ever seen. She just chewed up the track, digging, digging, for another few hundreths of a second.
Sanya Richards-Ross, somehow sensing this ( I believe, spidey senses, but could be wrong), called on all the absolute frustrations that she had for the past four years and gutted it out.
This was not pretty, no points for style. This was about winning a 400 meters that was so excruciatingly close, that one misstep and Richards-Ross was getting a silver, and Ohuruoghu had more covers than Mo Farah did last night!
Sanya Richards-Ross, closed those last fifteen meters well, winning in 49.55. Christine Ohuruoghu went by Dee Dee Trotter, taking the silver in 49.72. And Dee Dee Trotter, who paints her face up as war paint, a warrior in her own right, held off Amantle Montsho for third, and the coveted bronze, 49.72 to 49.75.
A 400 meters as good as the 100 meters later this evening. A 400 meters that absolutely surpassed the hype.
W400m: 1. Sanya Richards-Ross, US, 49.55, 2. C Ohuruoghu, GBR, 49.70, SB, 3. D Trotter, US, 49.72, SB, 4. Amantle Montsho, BOT, 49.75, 5. N Williams-Mills, JAM, 50.11, 6.A Krivoshapka, RUS, 50.17, 7. F McCorory, US, 50.33, 8 R Whyte, JAM, 50.79,#london2012, #olympics, #400 meters