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21 Aug 2008
Beijing 2008 , CAMPBELL-BROWN, Veronica

Campbell-Brown retains 200m crown

While Usain Bolt and Shelley Ann-Fraser represented the young, precocious side of Jamaica’s formidable sprint team in Beijing, Veronica Campbell-Brown was the Olympic old hand.

Although only 26 when the Olympic Games arrived in Beijing, Campbell-Brown had run in two previous Games, winning medals in both of them.

In Sydney 2000, running as an 18-year-old under her maiden name of Campbell, she ran alongside Jamaican veteran and sprint legend Merlene Ottey to steer the team to a silver medal in the 4x100m relay.

Four years later and she won a bronze in the 100m and claimed her first gold in the 200m, edging out American Allyson Felix into second.

Campbell-Brown was enjoying the taste of Olympic success and a few days later she and her team-mates added the 4x100m relay gold.

After such an outstanding performance, tallied with the fact that Jamaica had won all the sprint medals in Beijing, she entered the final of the 200m with understandable confidence.

On the other side of the coin was the United States. They faced the prospect of failing to win any of the sprint golds since they boycotted the Moscow Games in 1980.

Felix was seen as the most likely challenger to Campbell-Brown’s domination but her performances in the heats did not augur well for the American. Campbell-Brown cruised through the first two heats without ever hitting top gear but in the semis injected the kind of warning to her rivals that only true champions are capable of.

Her time of 22.19secs meant she was finishing a good metre before any of her rivals, Felix included, and there appeared to be plenty more in the tank.

She looked a winner from the moment the starter’s pistol rang out at the start of the final; she ran a terrific bend and was already two metres clear of the field as they entered the home race. She clocked a stunning time of 21.74secs – the fastest time in the century so far – to finish well clear of Felix, who again had to settle for the silver medal.

Kerron Stewart’s bronze meant all but one of the women’s sprint medals – Felix’s silver – had gone to Jamaicans, a sprinting outfit truly at the top of their game and on top of the world.

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