Aug. 10, 2012
LONDON – United States Track & Field team member Tianna Madison became the second former Tennessee standout to land an Olympic gold medal this week, as she led the American 4x100-meter relay team to a new world record.
Madison and her teammates Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter clocked in at a blazing 40.82, shattering East Germany’s 27-year old record of 41.37. It was the first Olympic gold in the event for the Americans since 1996.
Jamaica won the silver medal in a national record of 41.41 and Ukraine picked up the bronze in 42.04.
Madison, a former indoor and outdoor All-American with the Lady Vols, got the race started from lane seven and took the lead over 100m gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica. The U.S. kept it going with flawless baton exchanges for all four legs to break the record.
It’s the first Olympic medal for the Elyria, Ohio native. All time, Big Orange products have now won 23 gold medals, including seven from the track & field program. Aries Merritt – Madison’s former teammate at UT – notched gold in the 110m hurdles on Wednesday.
In other Olympic action Friday, ex-Lady Vol standout DeeDee Trotter anchored the U.S. women’s 4x400m relay squad to the top time (3:22.09) of the qualifying heats. Trotter, who already captured the bronze medal in the 400m dash in London, will run for another gold medal in the event finals on Saturday at 3:25 p.m. ET. She won the gold medal with the U.S. Team in the event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
On the men’s side, Justin Gatlin, a former 100m gold medalist, anchored the U.S. team to a new national record in the 4x100m relay with a time of 37.38. Gatlin and his teammates will look to challenge Jamaica in the event finals on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
Although he did not compete, rising sophomore Jamol James’ Trinidad and Tobago 4x100m relay team placed third in the second qualifying heat and will also compete in the finals. James is one of six runners in the T&T relay pool and could be a possible selection for Saturday’s final.