Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce successfully defended her gold in the women’s 100m sprint Saturday, earning the title of world’s fastest woman and outsprinting world champion Carmelita Jeter of Team USA.
Fraser-Pryce, who finished in 10.75 seconds, became the first woman to repeat in the 100m since Gail Devers of the U.S. did it in 1992 and 1996, according to the Associated Press.
Jeter, running in her first Olympics at 32, took silver, finishing three hundredths of a second behind Fraser Pryce.
The long-anticipated showdown was billed as a classic battle between the Americans and Jamaicans, with a total of five runners from the two countries considered contenders for the crown. In the end, it came down to Pryce, who won gold in the 100m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again at the 2009 world championships, and Jeter, who won gold at the 2011 worlds and owns the second-fastest time in history, 10.64 (the world record, 10.49, was set by Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988).
Fraser Pryce's teammate, Veronica Campbell Brown, came in third on Saturday. Americans Tianna Madison and Allyson Felix finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
A showdown between America and Jamaica is also brewing in the men's 100m.
Jamaican Usain Bolt, the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, easily won his Saturday qualifying heat with a time of 10.09. The showman, known for feeding off the energy of the crowd, offered a female track attendant a fist bump after she collected his warm-up suit and winter hat. As his name was announced and the stadium roared, Bolt waved his pointer fingers in the air and hopped around as other athletes stared down the track. His fingers were pointed skyward again after he cruised past the finish line.
"Number one baby," he said as he exited the track. "All day every day. All day!"
Fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, who beat Bolt at the Olympic trials, ran a better time at Saturday's first round races. He won his heat with a time of 10 seconds flat. More subdued than Bolt, Blake offered the crowd a simple salute before his heat, and avoided eye contact with the cameras as he walked off the track, smiling slightly to himself.
Americans Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey—the Jamaicans' biggest threat—swept the first three heats of the 100m, securing places in the semifinals, which will be held 2:45 p.m. Sunday. The final will take place two hours later.
Also on Saturday:
- South Africa's Oscar Pistorius made history Saturday as he became the first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics. The 25-year-old Pistorius, wearing sepia-tinted sunglasses and his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, earned a spot in the semifinals of the 400m with a second-place finish in his heat. "Couldn't have hoped for anything better," Pistorius told the AP. (Watch a video of the race here.)
- Team USA lost its best hope for the 400m gold after LaShawn Merritt, the defending Olympic champion, pulled up with a recurrence of an old hamstring injury in a qualifying heat.
- In the women's 400m, Sanya Richards Ross, a favorite for gold, dusted the field in her semifinal heat, building such a lead in the first half that she was able to ease up and save energy in the final stretch. Richards Ross, who won bronze in the event in 2008, finished in 50.22, ahead of Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 gold medalist, who came in second at 50.22. Americans Francena McCorory and Dee Dee Trotter also qualified for the 400m final, which will be held Sunday evening.
- Briton Jessica Ennis literally ran away with the women’s heptathlon, winning the last of seven events, the 800m run. Ennis, who entered the Olympics as the host country's poster child, collapsed to the track in tears as the hometown crowd roared.
- The stadium returned to its feet a little while later, as Mo Farah of Britain won the men's 10,000m in dominant fashion, finshing in 27 minutes 30:42 seconds. American record holder Galen Rupp took silver, finishing 27 minutes 30.90 seconds. Rupp's silver is the first American medal in the 10,000m since 1964, according to US Track and Field.
- Outside Olympic Stadium, Chen Ding of China won the men’s 20-kilometer racewalk, pulling away from the pack of leaders and treating the final 2 kilometers as an extended victory lap, raising his fists and high-fiving spectators through downtown London. Erick Barrondo of Guatemala finished second after defending 2008 Olympic champion and 2011 world champion Valerly Borchin of Russia collapsed with a kilometer left in the race, crashing into a barrier. He was taken off the course on a stretcher. Ding’s teammate Wang Zhen finished third.