Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sanya Richards Winds Up With Bronze

Olympics Day 11 - Athletics

-Beijing-Coming off the turn, the race looked like it was in hand.

The finish line was in sight. She had run past her doubts, run past her health issues, and had out run past previous disappointments.

Richards is the fastest American to run the one lap race and had the fastest time in the world. But she didn't have a major championship gold.

Then with 75 meters to go Sanya Richards hamstring tightened up on her. She struggled to cross the line in third place behind the winner Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain and Shericka Williams of Jamaica.

"My right hamstring grabbed on me, Richards said. " I just couldn't move it anymore. I tried to hold them off, and I just couldn't. I'm so disappointed because I've never had anything like that happen. I was totally out of control on the straightaway. I was all over the lane."

It has been a tough run for Richards. Last year she was diagnosed with Behcet’s disease, a rare chronic inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. The illness hijacked her training, sapped her energy, and caused her to miss qualifying for the World Championships.

Richards blasted out of the blocks, shot down the backstretch, and was held a commanding lead coming off the turn. Then the unthinkable occurred down the final stretch.

"I knew that gold was mine. I knew I was going to run 48 seconds. I felt so good. I was already getting elated coming off the turn because I knew how my races had been going. My hamstring just really let me down. I just feel like I've worked so hard in vain."

“Once again, just major disappointment. Every major championship I’ve been to I’ve come up short. It’s not for a want of trying. I mean, I go out there with every intention of trying to run my best race and I always come into the race very prepared. So once again to lose a championship and not just any major championship – the Olympic Games. And thinking of waiting for four more years is just way too much."

The time 49.62 was her fastest time of the season but it's probably of little solace to Richards.

By Jay Hicks.

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