Felix finally wins 200 as U.S. claims 3 golds

For most Olympians, winning one silver medal is a source of great pride, but the two that Allyson Felix owned were anything but satisfying.

Not even the gold Felix won in helping the United States take the women's 1,600-meter relay in Beijing was a suitable replacement for what she really wanted.

But, here at the London Games, Felix finally found a way to defeat the one woman who had stood between her and that dream medal.

After finishing second to Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown at the last two Summer Games, Felix did enough Wednesday night to earn the right to stand atop the podium for the women's 200 meters.

"I mean, finally," Felix said. "It's been a long time coming."

Felix had run so smoothly in heats for the event and the performance that won her that elusive gold medal was just as crisp. She took charge of the race around the turn and held onto the lead with a winning time of 21.88 seconds, crossing the finish line .21 seconds faster than anyone else.

For a change, Campbell-Brown posed no real threat to Felix. She finished in fourth place while her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed silver and Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. grabbed bronze.

"To lose twice to the same person, it's been tough," Felix said of her previous losses to Campbell-Brown. "But, it's all paying off."

Meanwhile, Campbell-Brown was denied a choice piece of track and field history. She was trying to become the first woman to win gold in the same event at three straight Olympics.

Still, even when faced with the disappointment of failing to medal in an event she had owned for eight years, Brown had congratulatory words for Felix.

"We've been racing each other for years," Brown remarked. "I'm happy for her. I knew how bad she wanted it."

For Jeter, she won her second medal in as many Olympic finals after finishing second to Fraser-Pryce in the 100 here in London. Meanwhile, fellow American Sanya Richards-Ross, the 400-meter champion in London, placed fifth.

While Felix ended her own personal quest for gold, she also became the first American woman to win the 200 since Gwen Torrence at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

That wasn't the only gold drought that ended for the U.S. on Wednesday. Aries Merritt and Brittney Reese also stopped long dry spells in the men's 110-meter hurdles and women's long jump, respectively.

Reese became the first American woman to win gold in the long jump since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988, while countrywoman Janay DeLoach took bronze. Reese, who placed fifth four years ago in Beijing, won with a leap of 7.12 meters, beating Elena Sokolova of Russia by .05 meters.

DeLoach won bronze at her first Olympics, posting a best jump of 6.89m. A heartbroken Ineta Radevica of Latvia was only .01 meters behind DeLoach.

It marked the first time the U.S. claimed two medals in this event at the same games.

Meanwhile, Merritt earned gold at his first Olympics, taking the men's 110- meter hurdles in convincing fashion. Merritt finished with a time of 12.92 seconds to beat fellow American Jason Richardson by .12 seconds.

It's the 20th time a U.S. hurdler has taken gold in this event, but the first since Allen Johnson at the 1996 Atlanta Games. That was also the last time Americans finished in the gold and silver positions in the 110m hurdles.

Richardson, the reigning world champion, was .08 seconds ahead of Jamaica's Hansle Parchment. Defending Olympic champion and current world-record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba pulled up lame and was disqualified.

Though the U.S. did not take gold in the other medal event of the night, Lashinda Demus did salvage a silver medal for the Stars and Stripes in the women's 400-meter hurdles.

Russia's Natalya Antyukh finished the race in 52.70 seconds for gold, and Demus crossed the line just .07 seconds later. The Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova picked up bronze with a run of 53.38 seconds.

For Antyukh, it was her second individual Olympic medal, following the bronze she won in the 400 meters -- without hurdles -- eight years ago at the Athens Games. She also won silver in Athens with Russia's 1,600-meter relay team.

Americans Georganne Moline and T'Erea Brown finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Another U.S. athlete, Ashton Eaton, is looking good for gold with five of the 10 events in the decathlon complete.

The world record holder in the event, Eaton is leading the field in London with 4,661 points -- 220 more than countryman Trey Hardee. Eaton was 105 points ahead of Hardee after the morning session (100m, long jump and shot put) and more than doubled that cushion by the end of the night, placing second in the high jump and first in the 400 meters.

Damian Warner of Canada is in third place, 275 points behind Eaton.

Earlier in the day, Eaton had set an Olympic decathlon-best in the 100 meters, finishing in 10.35 seconds. The previous record of 10.41 was set by American Bill Toomey at the 1968 Mexico Games.

The 24-year-old Portland, Ore., native broke the decathlon world record at U.S. trials this year. He and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic are the only two men to break the 9,000-point barrier. The 37-year-old Sebrle, who still owns the Olympic record, started the competition in London, but bowed out after a poor showing in the 100.

The decathlon concludes Thursday with the final five disciplines: the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters.

Usain Bolt also was on the track Wednesday evening and the Jamaican easily qualified for the final in the men's 200. Bolt appeared to jog through about half of the race and still won his heat with a time of 20.18 seconds. Earlier at these games, Bolt joined Carl Lewis as the only men to win consecutive Olympic titles in the 100m and on Thursday the four-time gold medalist can become the first man to win two golds at the 200-meter distance.

Bolt's countryman and main rival for gold in the 200, Yohan Blake, had the best time of the three heats, running the half-lap in 20.01 seconds.

American sprinter Wallace Spearmon of the U.S. was next after Blake, finishing only .01 seconds behind. Spearmon crossed the finish line third at the Beijing Games, but was later disqualified for stepping out of his lane.

In semifinal heats for the women's 1,500m, Americans Shannon Rowbury and Morgan Uceny qualified for Friday's final. Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi qualified with the fastest time of 4 minutes, 1.03 seconds.

Twelve men also qualified for the final of the javelin throw and Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic posted the best mark with a toss of 88.34 meters.