Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sanya Richards-Ross Wins Gold in 400m

LONDON — Sanya Richards-Ross won a long-coveted gold medal in the women’s 400 meters here Sunday, becoming the first woman from the United States to win the event since 1984.

The deep 400-meter lineup included the defending gold medalist, from Britain, and the 2011 world champion, from Botswana. After a balky start, Richards-Ross surged past everyone in the second half to win with a time of 49.55 seconds.

Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 Olympic champion, was second in 49.70, and DeeDee Trotter of the United States was third in 49.72.

Richards-Ross, 27, won the bronze medal in the event in 2008 and made a strong comeback this season, finishing top in the event at the U.S. track and field trials in June, setting a trials record of 49.28 seconds.

In 2007, Richards-Ross was found to have Behçet’s, a rare systemic disease, and struggled in training and competition. But at the end of 2010, she was referred to a new doctor and has since been treated for a skin disease. She is married to the N.F.L. cornerback Aaron Ross, who was at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday night amid the capacity crowd of 80,000 that rose to its feet as Richards-Ross crossed the finish line.

Amantle Montsho, 29, of Botswana, settled for a disappointing fourth. She won the world championships last year and was hoping to become the first athlete from Botswana to win an Olympic medal. But she never seemed to find her stride and trailed the entire way. She finished in 49.75 seconds.

Russia’s Antonina Krivoshapka pushed the field into the final turn. She had the fastest time in the preliminary rounds, with a qualifying time of 49.81 seconds. A 25-year-old is from Rostov-on-Don, a port city in the South of the country, she won a bronze medal in the 400 at the world championships in Berlin in 2009. But she could not sustain her swift pace through the full 400 meters on Sunday, finishing sixth in 50.17.

credit nytimes