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Russia Wins Women's 4x100m Relay
    2008-08-22 23:26:13     Xinhua
Russian team won the title of women's 4x100 meters relay on Friday night at the Beijing Olympics, while pre-race favorite Jamaica suffered a disaster at the second legs and did not finish the race.

Russians quartet of Evgeniya Polyakova, Aleksandra Fedoriva, Yulia Guschina and Yuliya Chermoshanskaya clocked 42.31 seconds to take the unexpected gold. Russian team won silver in Athens four years ago behind Jamaica.

"We would have been happy with a silver medal but we got the gold," said Fedoriva.

Her compatriot Polyakova said that their coach gave them a "Russia style" encouragement before the final, saying, "We four began our training as a team since last summer. Before the race, our coach encouraged us in a local way by saying, 'you can't get anything' and we all answered 'God damn you' ."

World championship bronze medal winner Belgium took the silver in 42.54, setting a national record and crossing the finish line just 0.23 seconds behind the Russians.

"We may wanted a medal, but getting a silver and not that far from gold is amazing. Nobody could believe it because United States and Jamaica are usually so far ahead," said Kim Gevaert, Belgium's team member.

The bronze medal went to Nigeria in a season's best 43.04.

"This is unbelievable. I didn't ever think this could happen. We have worked for this so hard. I feel like I have a gold. This bronze is more important to me than a bold medal," said Oludamola Osayomi of Nigeria.

Without world champions United States, Jamaica, including two-time Olympic 200m title holder Veronica Campbell-Brown and newly-crowned 100m Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser, became the only pre-race hot favorite.

Fraser had staked the Jamaicans to lead and dominated the race from the start but totally lost the contention after Sherone Simson could not catch the baton from Fraser. Anchor Campbell-Brown never got the chance to run.

Stewart and Campbell-Brown were part of Jamaica's relay team that won silver last year at the world championships in Osaka, Japan, behind the United States.

"I'm not going to look at the race as a disappointment. We gave it our best shot and it didn't work out," said Stewart, "I did what I was supposed to do. She (Sherone Simpson) did what she was supposed to do, but it wasn't done."

Jamaica had dominated the sprint gold medal before the race as they won the men's and women's 100m and 200m title. Usain Bolt won both men's race with new world records.

"We had a great Olympic Games this year. We are very grateful for how far we've come," said Campbell-Brown, "We have great success this year, so we're not going to be ungrateful and complain."

The Americans were eliminated in the semifinals, with the baton dropped between Torri Edwards and Lauryn Williams. It is the first time since 1948 that an American women's team was not competing in the final.
 
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