Francena McCorory had a problem before the women’s Olympic 400 meters even started.
She drew the far-outside lane nine at Olympic Stadium, meaning she’d be “running blind” for much of the single-lap race, unable to see how she stood against her seven rivals.
The 23-year-old Bethel High School and Hampton University alumna wound up seventh in the eight-runner field with a time of 50.33 seconds, after running 50.19 in the semifinals Saturday.
“That was a tough situation, sure, but I gave it my all and that’s all I could really do,” she said.
The gold medal went to her American teammate Sanya Richards-Ross, who ran 49.55 to edge out 2008 gold medalist, Great Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu (49.70). American DeeDee Trotter earned the bronze in 49.72 seconds.
Also under the 50-second mark was 2011 world champion Amantle Monthso of Botswana (49.75).
McCorory was in the mix for a high finish coming off the second turn but wearied and struggled down the stretch, as Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills (50.11) and Russia’s Antonina Krivoshapka (50.17) edged by.
“Both my teammates did a great job, but my own time is a little disappointing,” said McCorory, who has yet to reach her personal best 50.06 seconds in London. “But there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
McCorory and her teammates return to the track for the 4x400 relay, in which Team USA is a strong favorite. The relay trials are Friday, the final Saturday.
According to the Daily Press archives, the best a Hampton University track athlete has placed in the Olympics is fourth. James Carter finished fourth in the men’s 400 meters in 2000 and 2004.
Brown advances to semis
T’Erea Brown knows her first name is unusual.
“It was given to me by my aunt,” she said. “I think it means ‘of the earth.’
“It’s pronounced T-air-a, but you can just call me ‘T’”
The 22-year-old Hampton High School and University of Miami graduate ran a controlled race and easily advanced into the semifinals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best 54.72 seconds.
She’d won the 2011 NCAA championship for Miami and came to London with a previous personal best of 54.81.
In the first of five qualifying races, Brown trailed only Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, who ran 53.96, and easily beat out Britain’s Eilidh Child (56.14). USA teammates Georganne Moline (54.31) and Lashinda Demus (54.60) will join Brown in Monday’s semis. The fastest of the 24 qualifiers was Russia’s Natalya Antyukh (53.90).
“Yeah, I’m happy. Sure I’m happy,” Brown said. “To run a (personal best) and do it in the Olympics, that’s pretty great. And I know I can run a whole lot better. I know I’ll have to.
“These are the best people in the world. By the time of the finals (Wednesday night) we’re going to see some people in the 52s.”
The Olympic record is Melaine Walker’s 52.64 for Jamaica in 2008. The world record of 52.34 was set by Yuliya Pechonkina of Russia in 2003.
Another plus for Brown: Amy Deem, her coach at Miami, is here with her as women’s head coach of the American team.
NSU sprinter qualifies for men’s 400 final
Former Norfolk State sprinter Chris Brown finished second is his heat to qualify for Monday’s final in the men’s 400 meters. Brown’s time of 44.67 was the third fastest overall behind Lalonde Gordon (44.58) and Kirani James (44.59).
Staff reports contributed to this storyCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times