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Olympics / Team USA

Local Women Huge Part of Victorious Relays

In another legendary showing by U.S. women in the track relays, local women, including English Gardner and Natasha Hastings, helped bring home two more golds for the team.

It started with the women’s 4X100m relay, which featured Gardner, Allyson Felix, Torie Bowie and Tianna Bartoletta. After making the final after a strange occurrence in the preliminary which included a near disqualification, the women ran the second fastest time in history, only behind their world record set in London.

What made the run even more impressive was the fact that they did it in the first lane. The middle lanes are favorable, and ordinarily the top seeds earn the right to run there. However, they were placed in the outside after they ran on their own qualifying heat despite holding the fastest time. Despite losing the individual 100m sprint, the Americans enacted revenge upon their Jamaican rivals, posting a time of 41.01 seconds, compared to Jamaica’s 41.36.

Gardner also made her run while wearing a pair of Allyson Felix’s shoes. Gardner opened her bag and only saw one of her shoes, and after searching around the locker room to no avail, began to panic. However, Felix, the veteran of four Olympics, had a spare pair of track spikes, and lent them to Gardner, and while they were a bit big on her, they did the trick.

Two days later, the women returned to the track, and dominated again, this time in the 4X400m relay race. Natasha Hastings and Phyllis Francis of New York were members on the squad, along with Courtney Okolo and Felix. They continued a streak of United States women winning that race that hasn’t been broken since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

They won from beginning to end, with Courtney Okolo leading off. Okolo then led to Hastings, who then gave way to Francis, with Felix capping off the victory. Again, they topped sprinting rival Jamaica, beating them by over a second. Taylor Ellis-Watson of Philadelphia also earned a gold medal, as she was part of the team that qualified for the final, giving the local area three gold medalists in the event.

The win was even more historic for Felix, who picked up her sixth career Olympic gold medal, sitting behind Jenny Thompson as the winningest female in American Olympic history. It was more than likely the last race for her however, as she has stated multiple times that

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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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