MOSCOW, Russia – A pair of medal-winning performances highlighted Saturday’s action at the IAAF World Championships for Jessica Beard and Curtis Mitchell at Luzhniki Stadium. Beard was part of a silver-medal performance in the 4x400 relay while Mitchell rallied to snare a bronze medal in the 200 meters.
Beard moved into the lead-off position for the finals of the women’s 4x400 after clocking a 49.78 second-leg split in the prelims. In the final Beard produced a 50.79 first leg carry that gave the United States an early lead over Russia.
A close encounter with Russia followed throughout the rest of the relay with Natasha Hastings, Ashley Spencer and Francena McCorory handling the remaining legs for the United States. On the final lap, Russia maintained an edge to the finish line for a 3:20.19 victory as the Americans placed second in 3:20.41 with Great Britain third in 3:22.61.
“Thankfully all year, for some odd reason, I have been running first leg at several track meets throughout the season,” noted Beard. “Now I know it was to prepare me for this big stage today.
“Of course gold is always the standard, but today Russia was the better finishing team. I'm so happy to represent my country, represent for my Aggie family, and for all my supporters here and abroad. To leave with a medal is always a privilege.”
In previous World Championships, Beard earned gold medals from United States 4x400 victories in 2009 and 2011.
Mitchell overcame a sluggish start in the final of the 200 meters and moved from sixth place to third place over the course of the final 100 meters to claim the bronze medal in 20.04 seconds and deny Jamaica a sweep of the medals.
Usain Bolt ran world-leading 19.66 for the victory with fellow Jamaican Warren Weir clocking a career best 19.79 for runner-up honors.
The third Jamaican in the race, Nickel Ashmeade, finished fourth in 20.05 as Mitchell’s lean nipped the bronze medal by 0.01 of a second. Adam Gemili of Great Britain posted a 20.08 for fifth place.
“It’s unbelievable, man,” stated Mitchell, who previously placed fourth in the 2008 World Junior 200 final. “I really don’t have any words for the feeling that I feel right now. It’s been such a magical year for me.
“Yesterday I ran a personal best to make the final, and then I was able to stay healthy and achieve a medal for my country. It is so huge. The magnitude of where I am at is unbelievable. I’m glad I was able to come out and represent my country.”
The final day of the World Championships will include prelims and finals of the men’s and women’s 4x100 relay on Sunday. Jeneba Tarmoh will be part of the United States women’s relay pool while incoming Aggie junior Shavez Hart will be part of the Bahamas men’s relay pool.
Prelims for the women’s 4x100 will start at 7:15 a.m. local time with the men’s prelims at 7:50 a.m. Finals for the women’s sprint relay is set for 9:10 a.m. and the men’s final is at 9:40 a.m.