Rollins Leads Hurdle Sweep, Gatlin Fails To Make 200m Finals

(Photo Credit: © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

A big day for US track & field was headlined by a 1-2-3 sweep in the women's 100m hurdles. Brianna Rollins, a former hurdler for Miami Northwestern, kicked off the sweep by winning gold in a time of 12.48. Although she was happy with her performance, she was clearly thrilled for the trio as a whole as seen in some post-race quotes. 

"It's like a sisterhood. I've known these girls for quite a few years. Kristi and I, we train together. This evening we came and we prayed together and we just asked god to give us the peace of mind and the confidence that we need to get us through these round and come out here and fulfill our dreams and we were able to do that. I'm so grateful and blessed that we were able to accomplish this together."

Rollins was followed by Nia Ali for silver in 12.59, who also had more words to say about her bronze medalist counterpart than herself. "To see Kristi get the bronze, it was great. It was everything we prayed for. We were gonna be happy with our medals and we were gonna be happy with our performances because we know we did our best. But to have something come to fruition that you just prayed and prayed on, and have it be history and the first people to sweep, and it be with them, it was just the icing on the cake."

Kristi Castlin narrowly edged out fourth place for the bronze medal with a time of 12.61. Castlin's concern for her team was also apparent when asked about her performance. 

"I really couldn't breathe for one second. My thing wasn't so much a bronze for myself but upholding the team. We came into this together. Track & field, a lot of times athletes go into it as individuals. But we had a different perspective. We came into it as a team, for girl power, for USA. We were able to do the first sweep in U.S. women's history. It feels good to be a history-maker."

(Photo Credit: © James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

In the women's 200m Torie Bowie grabbed a bronze medal in 22.15 to go with her silver from the 100m. She finished only behind Jamaica's Elaine Thompson who won with 21.78 and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands with 21.88. Bowie, who trains in Clermont with the Adidas Pure Athletics Group, had this to say on doubling in the 100 and 200:

"I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I mentioned to my manager, 'oh my god I am tired,' and she was like, 'well you have to finish what you started.' That was my goal today, to finish the best that I could, and I'm leaving with another medal and who can't be thankful for another medal. I have two."

(Photo Credit: © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Tampa resident Tianna Bartoletta, who used to train with IMG, added to the United States' gold medal count with her winning jump of 7.17m in the long jump. Defending champion Brittney Reese took the silver medal with a mark of 7.15m and Serbia's Ivana Spanovic set a new national record of 7.08m, good for bronze. When Bartoletta realized she won gold she was certainly happy, but she is still looking to the future.

"It was one of those things that at any minute someone could jump something huge, so I didn't really celebrate. Once the competition ended, my next thought was that I have to be back in the morning for the relay. So my work is not yet finished, but I am really happy to have pulled this off. I still have one more job to do for my country then after that celebrations can commence."

(Photo Credit: © Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

The 200m semifinal was an interesting one on the men's side. Lashawn Merritt won the first heat in a time of 19.94, running slower than only Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse from the second heat. Justin Gatlin, who many thought was one of the favorites to give Bolt a run for his money failed to qualify for the finals out of heat three. Gatlin, like Bartoletta, talked about how his Olympics aren't finished until the 4x100m relay is. 

"At the end of the day I'm just glad I could walk off the walk without a real harmful injury. I'll be able to rest myself and get the treatment that I need for my ankle and come out here and help my teammates in the 4x100m."

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