During this year’s Olympic Games, there were many events that were memorable. However, beyond memorable lies those events that are simply historic and leave people in awe. One of those riveting and most compelling events of the 2012 Olympic Games occurred on day 15. A record that stood for more than 25 years was obliterated by the U.S. women’s relay team in the 4×100 meter. Those in attendance at London’s Olympic stadium let out screams of excitement as they witnessed Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter run themselves into the history books.
In 1985, the East German women’s 4×100 meter relay team set the world record with a time of 41.37. This time was so fast that it lasted through six Olympics. However, the U.S.’ 2012 women’s relay team appeared focused and would not be denied their place in these Games. Upon the start of this event, the U.S. women’s relay team boasted a 2012 World Championship indoor medalist (Madison), a 3x Olympic gold medalist (Felix), a 2011 world champion (Knight) and the current second fastest woman in the world (Jeter). This team seemed more than capable of winning gold for the U.S. However, the Jamaicans were heavy favorites to win this event.
Like their males counterparts, the Jamaican women’s relay team was riddled with talent. All of the women on this team were veterans, having won medals in previous Olympics, including six gold. The Jamaican team even featured the current fastest woman in the world, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100m in 10.75 at these Games.
To beat the highly-touted Jamaican runners, team USA would have to run at a world record pace to do so – and that is exactly what they did. The Jamaicans beat their national record with a time of 41.41. The U.S., with their time of 40.82, became the first women’s relay team to run under 41 seconds in the 4×100. Regarding the long-standing record, Felix stated, “For so long the record was out of reach. You look up and it’s just crazy.”
The race was not only record-breaking for the U.S. women’s track team, it ended a 16-year drought, as this marked the U.S.’ first gold in this event since 1996.
Coming into this race, the U.S. women’s 4×100 relay team was weighed down by the events of the 2008 Olympics, when they dropped the baton in the semi-finals and was subsequently disqualified. Many doubted whether the U.S. women’s track team had mentally recovered from this majorly unfortunate mishap. However, this was a completely different women’s relay team – one set on rectifying the past and realizing their potential in the present.
Jeter, who ran the final leg on this relay team, responded to the gossip: “All I had to do was bring the stick home. We had a cloud hanging over us with people saying, ‘They can’t do it, they’re going to drop the stick.’ We did it!”
Despite their lackluster performance in 2008 and being deemed underdogs against a formidable 2012 Jamaican team, the women of this U.S. relay team are now Olympics champions. They set a new world record and made their 4×100 meter relay race one of the most unforgettable moments of the 2012 Olympics games.
More from Clinton Alexander Bullock:
The Olympics’ Most Surprising Moments Fuel Record-Breaking Results: The Triumph of Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte
A True Champion:The Legacy of Michael Phelps