Brenda Martinez of Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday became the first American woman to win a medal in the 800 at the world track and field championships, using a late kick to finish third at the Luzhniki Stadium track in Moscow on the final day of competition.
According to USA Track and Field, the UC Riverside alumna was eighth at 200 meters and seventh at 400 meters but managed to find her way through traffic to make another of her late pushes toward the finish line. Martinez, who trains in Big Bear and is coached by Joe Vigil, finished in a personal-best 1 minute, 57.91 seconds, behind Eunice Sum of Kenya (1:57.38) and Mariya Savinova of Russia (1:57.80).
Alysia Johnson Montano, the five-time U.S. champion in the 800, was the early leader and was timed in 56.06 seconds at the 400-meter mark. However, she finished fourth in 1:57.95. Ajee Wilson of Neptune, N.J., finished sixth in 1:58.21, an American junior record.
Martinez, who talked about her medal hopes here before the competition, said she was jittery before her race on Sunday.
"I had to really calm my nerves. I knew it was probably the biggest race of my life," Martinez told USA Track and Field's website.
"I just wanted to give everything I had. Again I had to go by 58 [seconds] and stay relaxed. On that last turn I really had to dig deep. I saw everyone around me. I knew that last 100, I had to give it everything I had."
U.S. athletes won five medals on Sunday for a total of 25 in the competition, comprised of six gold, 14 silver, and five bronze.
The U.S. men’s 400-meter relay team finished second to the
The U.S. women's 400-meter relay, minus the injured
Here's a link to results and race reports on the website of the International Assn. of Athletics Federations, the governing body of track and field.