OSAKA, Japan -- Former University of Tennessee star Dee Dee Trotter played a role in the fastest United States women’s 4x400-meter relay time in 14 years, and the Americans used that effort to catapult them to a gold medal Sunday at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at Nagai Stadium.
With the men’s 4x4 triumph later in the evening, the United States became the first country to sweep all four relay titles (women’s and men’s 4x100mR and 4x400mR) in the same meet at the World Championships. At the close of competition, Team USA tied the all-time World Championships record for gold medals with 14, matching its feat from 2005, and tied the American all-time medal tally at a World Outdoor Championships with 26.
After helping the U.S. to a world-leading time of 3:23.37 in the semifinals, Trotter joined forces with Allyson Felix, Mary Wineberg and Sanya Richards to deliver the Red, White and Blue its first women’s World Championship gold medal in that event since 2003. The Americans, who many expected would be challenged by either Russia or Great Britain, covered the distance in 3:18.55. Jamaica ran a national-record time of 3:19.73 to grab the silver, while Great Britain had an NR of its own in 3:20.04 with open 400m one-two finishers Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders serving as the opener and closer of the relay effort. Defending world champion Russia just missed medaling, taking fourth in a season-best 3:20.25.
“Basically, it was a difficult first leg,” Trotter said. “A lot of teams took the same strategy that we took and put their best runners up first. It was a very strong first leg, stronger than I have seen in a few years.
“I was able to get out there and run a very strong first leg to put Allyson in a good position. She took it from there and just basically exploded us out to the lead. From then on out, it was like skating. We took it easy. Sanya brought us home with a spectacular time.”
For Trotter, it was her first World Championships 4x4 medal obtained while running in the final. She aided the 2003 cause as well, but she ran only in the semifinals. The 2005 UT graduate also earned a gold medal as part of the U.S. 4x4 at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, running both rounds.