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Team USA sets medal record

Team USA - Turkey 2012

Team USA - Turkey 2012

Team USA left the Atakoy Athletics Arena Sunday after the final day of the World Indoor Championships with the most gold medals in team history. Brittney Reese (long jump) and Bernard Lagat (3,000m) each defended their World Indoor titles to go along with gold medals from Will Claye (triple jump), Aries Merritt (60m hurdles) and the men’s 4x400m relay to bring the count of American gold medals to 10 for the weekend.

Team USA bettered the mark of eight gold medals it set in 1993, 2003 and 2010. Team USA also picked up three silver medals from Christian Taylor (triple jump), Janay DeLoach (long jump) and the women’s 4x400m relay along with bronze medals from Tianna Madison (60m) and Erica Moore (800m) to bring the team’s total to 18 for the World Indoor Championships, which is second only to the 19 medals it won in 1999. Great Britain was second in the medal count with a total of nine.

Reese came to Istanbul with the goal of defending her World Indoor title and establish an American record. She accomplished both and broke Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s 18-year-old record in the process with a lead of 7.23m/23-8.75. The jump came on her final attempt moments after DeLoach had just taken the lead with a jump of 6.98m/22-10.75. It marks the first time in World Indoor Championships history Team USA has won a pair of medals in the women’s long jump.

Lagat etched his name next to Ethiopia’s Haile Gebreselassie as the only men to ever win three World Indoor titles in the men’s 3,000m. Lagat’s victory came after he ran away from the rest of the field on the final lap to win in a time of 7:41.44. It accompanies his world titles from 2004 and 2010. Lopez Lomong recorded a personal best in the race to finish sixth in 7:44.16.

When Claye left the competition venue Saturday he had just finished fourth in the long jump. He didn’t miss any opportunities in jumping a world-leading mark of 17.70m/58-1 to win the gold Sunday in the triple jump. Teammates also at the University of Florida, Claye and Taylor become the first members of Team USA to finish 1-2 in the event at the World Indoor Championships. Taylor jumped a personal best of 17.63m/57-10.25 to take the silver.

Merritt took advantage of a good start and held off China’s Xiang Liu to win in a time of 7.44. The 2004 World Junior champion, Merritt becomes the first gold medalist in the event for Team USA since Terrence Trammell in 2006.

The men’s 4x400m relay had their sites set on breaking the current world record held by the U.S. of 3:02.83 and finished just over a second off at 3:03.94. Frankie Wright, Calvin Smith, Manteo Mitchell and Gil Roberts came together to run in the final while Jamaal Torrance and Quentin Iglehart-Summers helped to advance the team by running in the preliminaries. It marks the fourth consecutive year Team USA has won the men’s 4x400m at the World Indoor Championships.

Sanya Richards-Ross received the baton in third position in the women’s 4x400m. She moved into second place on the backstretch of the final lap, but was not able to catch Great Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton. Team USA took the silver in a time of 3:28.79. Richards-Ross was joined by Leslie Cole, Natasha Hastings and Jernail Hayes on the squad.

Moore pushed the pace through the first two laps of the women’s 800m to pick up a bronze medal for Team USA. Moore, the 2012 USA Indoor Champion and on her first World Championships team, ran a personal best time of 1:59.97.

Madison headed to Istanbul as the world-leader in the women’s 60m and returned with a bronze medal. Her finals time of 7.09 was just behind Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown (7.01) and the Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure (7.04). Team USA has now won a medal in the women’s 60m at every World Indoor Championships since 1991. Barbara Pierre placed seventh in a time of 7.06.

The 2011 World Outdoor champion, Jesse Williams cleared 2.31m/7-7 on his final attempt before scratching out at the next height to finish sixth in the men’s high jump.

Lacy Janson cleared a personal best height of 4.65m/15-3 to finish fifth while Mary Saxer cleared 4.30m/14-1.25 to finish 14th in the women’s pole vault. Sara Hall and Jackie Areson advanced to the finals of the women’s 3,000m before placing eight and 11th, respectively. Hall’s final time was 8:59.95 and Areson ran a personal best of 9:12.50. Michael Rutt advanced into the final of the men’s 800m before placing fifth Sunday in a time of 1:51.47.

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