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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Women's 4 x 400 m



Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top three in each heat and next two fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 22, 2008  
Date Finished: August 23, 2008  
(Competitors: 69, Countries: 16, Finalists: 32/8)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
With three finalists in the individual event, Russia were slight favourites over the USA, and they duly won the first heat in 3:23.71. That time was bettered by three teams in the second heat as the USA (3:22.45) edged Jamaica (3:22.60) and Belarus (3:22.78). Russia led on the first leg by 2m, with individual winner Ohuruogu surprisingly 6m back. Felix changed the tenor of the race on the second leg with her effort, estimated at 48.6. She flowed past Lloyd with 150m to go to give the USA a 3m lead over Russia, with Jamaica a further 3m back. The rest of the field was led by Britain after Heptathlete Sotherton’s strong 50.4 leg. Firova surged ahead of Monique Henderson with 80m to go on the third leg to give Russia a 5m lead at the final changeover. Richards, desperate to make up for her failure in the individual final, held back until the finishing straight and surged ahead of Kapachinskaya with 40m metres to go to win her second consecutive relay gold (as did Henderson).
Summary by      
The race was expected to be between the United States and Russia, with the US slight favorites. But the US sprinters had not performed well in Beijing, making this hard to call. Due to injuries, top US runner Sanya Richards was asked to run in the heats and there was concern that this would tire her for the final, where she would anchor. In the final, Yuliya Gushchina put Russia in the lead on the opening leg with 50.62, Jamaica second and the US third. Allyson Felix ran the second leg for the US, and blitzed a 48.55 lap to move slightly ahead of the Russians at the second changeover. Monique Henderson ran the third leg for the US and opened a big lead on the backstretch but Tatyana Firova caught her on the straightaway and pulled ahead by a few metres as she handed the baton to Anastasiya Kapachinskaya. Richards got the baton for the US 6/10ths down at the bell, with Jamaica another second back. Kapachinskaya opened the lead up even further on the backstretch and the US appeared to be too far behind. But on the final curve, Richards found another gear, and gradually starting closing the gap. She caught Kapachinskaya about 30 metres from the finish, but it was not over, as Kapachinskaya would not yield. But Richards held on to get the gold for the US by 0.28 seconds, with Jamaica winning the bronze medal.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Soviet Union (URS)
(Tatyana Ledovskaya, Olga Nazarova, Mariya Pinigina, Olga Bryzgina)
3:15.17 Seoul, South Korea 1 October 1988
Olympic record  Soviet Union (URS)
(Tatyana Ledovskaya, Olga Nazarova, Mariya Pinigina, Olga Bryzgina)
3:15.17 Seoul, South Korea 1 October 1988

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.

Qualification summary

Pos NOC 2 races 1 2
Total Average
1  United States 6:40.71 3:20.35 3:18.55 3:22.16
2  Russia 6:43.74 3:21.87 3:20.25 3:23.49
3  Great Britain 6:45.49 3:22.74 3:20.04 3:25.45
4  Belarus 6:45.55 3:22.77 3:21.88 3:23.67
5  Jamaica 6:45.87 3:22.93 3:19.73 3:26.14
6  Poland 6:52.81 3:26.41 3:26.36 3:26.45
7  Cuba 6:54.09 3:27.04 3:27.04 3:27.05
8  Mexico 6:54.89 3:27.44 3:27.14 3:27.75
9  France 6:55.25 3:27.62 3:26.63 3:28.62
10  Ukraine 6:55.82 3:27.91 3:27.15 3:28.67
11  Germany 6:56.83 3:28.41 3:27.31 3:29.52
12  Nigeria 6:57.71 3:28.85 3:27.97 3:29.74
13  Brazil 6:58.00 3:29.00 3:28.89 3:29.11
14  Japan 7:00.70 3:30.35 3:30.17 3:30.53
15  India 7:00.84 3:30.42 3:28.29 3:32.55
16  China 7:01.89 3:30.95 3:29.75 3:32.14
17  Italy 7:01.96 3:30.98 3:30.89 3:31.07
18  Canada 7:02.71 3:31.35 3:30.34 3:32.37
19  Greece 7:03.27 3:31.64 3:30.20 3:33.07
20  Romania 7:05.79 3:32.90 3:30.22 3:35.57

Women's 4x400m Relay - FINAL


There was a repeat of all three medals from the Athens Olympic Games in the women’s 4x400m here in Beijing as the USA defended their Olympic title in 3:18.54, the fastest time in the world since 1993, ahead of Russia and Jamaica.

However the race tonight couldn’t have been more different. Four years ago, anchor leg Monique Hennagan had taken the baton off 19-year-old Sanya Richards with a 12-metre lead and all she had to do was cruise to the finish.

This time, it was Richards’ duty to anchor and as it turned out, to do the chase. A disappointing third in the individual 400m Richards was handed the stick by Monique Henderson (her too was in the Athens gold medal winning squad) five metres behind Anastasia Kapachinskaya, who had been fifth in the open race four days ago and had been rested in the heats.

Richards looked as determined as ever when she set off for her fifth full lap of the stadium (after 3 400m rounds and the relay heats); determined to win and determined not to make the same mistake again.

Holder of the fastest time of the year, Richards opted for the safest option: she would not make her move until the final bend. Kapachinskaya, the 2003 World champion at 200m before serving a 2-year ban for a doping offence, not only maintained her lead she even increased it by a couple of metres.

But when it looked as though the Russian had done enough, that is when Richards decided to let her devastating kick do the talking. Coming off the final bend, Kapachinskaya looking up at the screen to check Richards’ position, the two-time Golden League Jackpot winner appeared the stronger.

In what must have looked like the longest ever home straight, Richards eventually caught up and sped past Kapachinskaya with less than 10 metres to go. Russia's final result 3:18.82 was one seven season's best recorded in the race.

"I was just thrilled to get the stick in striking distance, and it made the victory that much more sweet. To get the bronze in the 400m wasn't the best thing. After the first night I couldn't sleep. Then, I just took it my mind off it," said Richards.

As the line-ups for the final were announced, it became obvious that tactics adopted by team leaders would influence the final outcome as three of the four strongest nations decided to lead off with their fastest runner.

Individual silver medallist Shericka Williams set Jamaica to a good start as she opened with a 50.88 split, which proved second only to Russia whose first leg was covered by Yulia Guschina, individual fourth.

Meanwhile, Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu who was certainly expected to hand over to heptathlete Kelly Sotherton with a comfortable lead ran a poor 51.27 leg which practically ended Great Britain’s hope for a medal.

US Trials runner-up Mary Wineberg was timed in 51 flat for her opening leg, the US team having the advantage of running on the inside lane 4. Although she received the stick in third position, Allyson Felix ran a strong opening curve to reach the back straight level with Shereefa Lloyd of Jamaica.

Felix let her speed do the talking going into the second curve and handed the baton well in the lead after she was timed in 48.55, the fastest leg of the evening.

Behind the Americans, positions were continuously changing with Russia moving from fourth up to second, Great Britain fading down to fifth and Nigeria temporarily in fourth.

Henderson made a brave attempt to defend her leading position but Tatiana Firova, the individual sixth placer, was just that bit stronger and managed to outclass the American.

But the US had kept their best for last with Richards securing her country’s fourth Olympic title at the event with a 48.93 final leg.

Richards had run almost one full second fastest than Kapachinskaya and finally, she looked satisfied. Finally, she could celebrate.

"It's so different being the one that's chasing than being the one that's chased," said Richards. "I was just focused on the finish line. I knew what the prize was if I finished first, and I just kept thinking about it the whole time." 

Felix added: "It was just great. We've had our ups and downs but to end of this note is great."

Securely in third, Jamaica was anchored by World bronze medallist Novlene Williams who closed with a 49.86 leg as Sviatlana Usovich was timed in 49.69 for a Belarus national record 3:21.85.

Great Britain eventually finished fifth, World silver medallist Nicola Sanders having just too much work to do.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

4 x 400 m Women     Final 23 August      
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records
1 3.18.54     Mary Wineberg 51.00, Allyson Felix 48.55, Monique Henderson 50.06, Sanya Richards-Ross 48.93 United States USA    
2 3.18.82     Yuliya Gushchina 50.62, Lyudmila Litvinova 49.18, Tatyana Firova 49.20, Anastasiya Kapachinskaya 49.82 Russia RUS    
3 3.20.40     Shericka Williams 50.88, Shereefa Lloyd 49.32, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson 50.34, Novlene Williams-Mills 49.86 Jamaica JAM    
4 3.21.85     Anna Kozak 51.98, Iryna Khliustava 50.33, Ilona Usovich 49.85, Sviatlana Usovich 49.69 Belarus BLR   NR
5 3.22.68     Christine Ohuruogu 51.27, Kelly Sotherton 50.35, Marilyn Okoro 51.52, Nicola Sanders 49.54 Great Britain GBR    
6 3.23.21     Roxana Díaz 51.11, Zulia Calatayud 51.17, Susana Clement 50.47, Indira Terrero 50.46 ESP Cuba CUB   NR
7 3.23.74     Joy Eze 51.46, Sade Abugan 50.03, Oluoma Nwoke 51.53, Joke Odumosu 50.72 Nigeria NGR    
8 3.28.45     Jonna Tilgner 53.12, Sorina Nwachukwu 52.60, Florence Ekpo-Umoh 51.66, Claudia Hoffmann 51.07 Germany GER    

Women's 4x400m Relay - Round 1

Three days after finishing a disappointing third in the individual 400m final, Sanya Richards stepped back on the track to anchor the US 4x400m to a comfortable 3:22.45 win in the 4x400m relay heats.

Certainly Richards could have done with an extra day rest after competing in the three 400m rounds this week but the 23-year-old winner of the 2006 World Athlete of the Year award had something to prove.

Richards took the baton from former World junior champion Natasha Hastings already in the lead but she nevertheless made a point of setting out on a fast pace. After a more conservative second bend and with individual silver medallist Shericka Williams fast approaching, Richards kicked again to maintain the lead. She wasn’t going to let the Jamaican go past, not twice in three days!

Williams held on for second in 3:22.60 ahead of a fast finishing quartet from Belarus just 18 hundredths of a second behind with the top three teams advancing to tomorrow’s final by right.

The first of two heats was considerably slower as the Russians, running with two alternates, clocked 3:23.71 for first. With three athletes in the open 400m final and having rested Yulia Guschina and Anastasiya Kapachinskaya, the defending silver medallists from Athens 2004 can certainly go faster in tomorrow’s final.

In total contrast, Great Britain lined-up its best quartet including the Olympic champion from three days ago Christine Ohuruogu, World silver medallist Nicola Sanders, Heptatlete Kelly Sotherton and 800m specialist Marilyn Okoro.

Ohuruogu took the stick off Okoro in second position well clear of teams from Cuba, Germany and the Ukraine but the 24-year-old Londoner who is also the reigning World champion, decided she had to save as much energy as possible and went off to a junior pace.

She gradually lost her margin on Indira Terrero who came level with her with 80 metres to go. Ohuruogu didn’t seem to worry that much as she knew the first three teams would advance but what she hadn’t seen was Germany’s anchor leg Claudia Hoffman finishing fast on the outside.

Luckily for the Brits, Ohuruogu caught sight of her pursuer on time and threw herself on the line to take third in 3:25.48, 2 hundredths of a second off Cuba and only 7 clear of the Germans.

As it turned out, Germany would advance as the last qualifiers by time. Nigeria also advanced from heat 2 in 3:24.10.

With the top four nations from the Athens 2004 Games all qualified for what will be the second to last track event of these Games, it will be a very interesting rematch. Four years ago, the US had prevailed over Russia and Jamaica with Great Britain in fourth.

Another 24 hours and we’ll know if history will repeat itself.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

4 x 400 m Women     Heat 1 22 August      
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records
1 3.23.71   Q Yelena Migunova, Tatyana Veshkurova, Lyudmila Litvinova, Tatyana Firova Russia RUS    
2 3.25.46   Q Roxana Díaz, Zulia Calatayud, Susana Clement, Indira Terrero ESP Cuba CUB    
3 3.25.48   Q Nicola Sanders, Kelly Sotherton, Marilyn Okoro, Christine Ohuruogu Great Britain GBR    
4 3.25.55   Q Jonna Tilgner, Sorina Nwachukwu, Florence Ekpo-Umoh, Claudia Hoffmann Germany GER    
5 3.27.44     Oksana Shcherbak, Tetyana Petlyuk, Kseniya Karandyuk, Nataliya Pyhyda Ukraine UKR    
6 3.28.23     Monika Bejnar, Jolanta Kajtoch, Anna Jesień, Grażyna Prokopek-Janáček Poland POL    
7 3.28.83     Satti Geetha, Manjeet Kaur, Chitra K. Soman, Mandeep Kaur India IND    
8 3.30.52     Satomi Kubokura, Asami Chiba, Mayu Sato, Sayaka Aoki Japan JPN    
4 x 400 m Women     Heat 2 22 August      
Rank Mark     Team Country NOC   Records
1 3.22.45   Q Mary Wineberg, Monique Henderson, Natasha Hastings, Sanya Richards-Ross United States USA    
2 3.22.60   Q Novlene Williams-Mills, Shereefa Lloyd, Bobby-Gaye Wilkins-Gooden, Shericka Williams Jamaica JAM    
3 3.22.78   Q Yulianna Yushchanka, Iryna Khliustava, Ilona Usovich, Sviatlana Usovich Belarus BLR    
4 3.24.10   Q Sade Abugan, Joy Eze, Oluoma Nwoke, Joke Odumosu Nigeria NGR    
5 3.26.61     Phara Anacharsis, Thélia Sigère, Solen Désert-Mariller, Virginie Michanol France FRA    
6 3.30.10     María Laura Almirão, Josiane Tito, Emmily Pinheiro, Lucimar Teodoro Brazil BRA    
7 3.30.36     Ruth Grajeda, Gabriela Medina, Nallely Vela, Zudikey Rodriguez Mexico MEX    
8 3.30.77     Han Ling, Chen Jingwen, Wang Jinping, Tang Xiaoyin China CHN    




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