London rewind: Sept. 6, 2012
Richard Browne of the United States finished second to Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock in the men's 100 T44 final.
The men’s 100 meter (T44) final of the London 2012 Paralympics Games had been dubbed the “Race of the Games”. I it lived up to the hype as hometown favorite Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain squeaked out the victory over 21-year-old American Richard Browne.
Before Sept. 6, 2012, no one knew who Browne was. Now he is not only the 2012 Paralympic Games silver medalist but also the silver medalist at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships. Browne is also the world record holder.
On Sept. 6, 2012, Peacock became the world’s fastest amputee. He set the Paralympic record, finishing in 10.90 but Browne was close behind with a personal best time of 11.03. South Africa’s Arnu Fourie was third at 11.08. Americans Blake Leeper (11.21) and Jerome Singleton (11.25) were fifth and sixth.
The event has been one of the most anticipated events of these Games, not surprising considering the lineup which featured a who’s who of Paralympic superstars, any of whom could have medaled in the event.
Racing alongside the three medalists were defending Paralympic champion in the men’s 100m Oscar Pistorius, also the first amputee to run in the Olympic Games, and Brazil’s Alan Oliveira, who already upset Pistorius by winning the 200m (T44) title earlier in the week.
Given the pool of talent, the race had all the makings of a historic event and it most certainly was.
The race was full of drama right from the start as Brazil’s Oliveira false started on the initial start, a move that threw some of the racers off, including Leeper who was favored to medal but finished with a time of 11.21.
“It’s hard when you get held and held and held (by the starter), but it is what it is,” said Leeper. He then held the world record in the T43 class with Pistorius, who placed fourth with a season’s best 11.17.
Once resetting, there was no turning back for the sprinters.
The race was quick from the start but soon thereafter became a two-person race as Peacock and Browne pulled away from the field just after the halfway point, something Browne noticed right away and used as fuel to push him through to the finish.
“I knew Jonnie would get out,” Browne said. “Once I saw that I was still in second with 40 meters to go I just told myself to stay strong and hold my form.”
Browne did in fact hold his form as he closed in on Peacock who held a slight lead throughout the race. Despite this huge effort from Browne, however, Peacock was able to keep the American at bay after realizing how close Browne was to overtaking him.
“My drive phase is probably the best it’s ever been in the race,” said Peacock, who holds the world record in the T44 class. “At about 60 meters I started to think ‘Oh crap, I’m in the lead’. I felt the guys closing in and I felt I lost a bit of top speed.”
As soon as Peacock and Browne crossed the line, the stadium exploded with noise, reaching decibel levels not yet heard at these Games. Now Peacock has the title of the world’s fastest amputee.
For Browne, the noise, atmosphere and realization that he had just won a Paralympic silver medal in the biggest race of his life was surreal.
“This was the biggest crowd I have ever seen in my life and they are all out here to support us, it’s just so amazing,” said a teary-eyed Browne. “I don’t know how to explain it right now because I am getting emotional as it is starting to set in…to represent the United States of America on the podium tonight is absolutely amazing”.
After a surprising disqualification in the 4x100m relay, collecting his first Paralympic medal in the 100m final was redemption in his eyes.
“We had a disappointing loss in the disqualification in the 4x100 race yesterday so to be able to represent and to get this medal for not only myself but for my other teammates is amazing,” said Browne.
Although Browne’s track schedule at these Games is now complete he still has a chance at one more medal as he will still compete in the high jump (F46). Leeper, the bronze medalist in the 200m, has the 400 left on his program while Singleton’s competition is over.
Singleton came into the race as the defending world champion in the event. At the Beijing Games, he finished second, narrowly missing the gold medal.
“I never want to finish off the podium,” Singleton said. “But I can stand here knowing that since Beijing, I held that title of the world’s fastest amputee. I’m going to go back to the drawing board and figure out how I can get that title back for Team USA.”
Other action from Sept. 6, 2012:
- Jeremy Campbell set a Paralympic record on en route to his second consecutive Paralympic Games gold medal in the men’s discus (F44), recording a throw of 60.05 meters. “I knew coming into this that I was going to have to do really well,” Campbell said. “I’ve had a really good year training and competing.” It was Campbell’s fourth attempt that put him in the lead, putting him ahead of Great Britain’s Dan Greaves at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, to the disappointment of the hometown crowd.
- Jessica Long’s seventh medal of the Games came with something a little extra, a world record. The most decorated American athlete of the Games, Long won the women’s 100m freestyle (S8) qualifying event on the morning of Sept. 6, 2012, with a world record, but her record 1:06.06 lasted only a few hours. She came back to the Aquatics Centre in the evening and delivered a 1.05.63, securing her fifth gold of the Games. Joining Long in adding to the medal count at the pool was the ever jubilant Cortney Jordan. Jordan’s steady swim in the women’s 400m freestyle (S7) guided her to her third silver of these Games with a 5.18.55.
- With the final day of competition at the Paralympic Games sailing regatta cancelled due to lack of wind in Weymouth and Portland, racing results, to date, stood as final. The U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team’s Jen French and JP Creignou collected a silver medal in the SKUD-18 event (two person keelboat).
- The United States collected two more bronze medals in road cycling as Allison Jones won a bronze in the women's individual C 1-3 road race, her third medal of the Games, and Kelly Crowley added a bronze in the women's individual C 4-5 road race, her second of the Games.
- David Wagner, the No. 1 ranked quad singles player in the world, advanced to the London 2012 Paralympic Games finals, beating his doubles partner Nick Taylor 6-2, 6-1 to advance. Taylor and Wagner won their third consecutive quad doubles title at the Paralympic Games earlier in the week. In 2008, Wagner beat Taylor for the bronze medal.
- Sept. 6, 2012, was a tough day to be a U.S. wheelchair basketball fan. Both the Australian men and women defeated their American counterparts in the semifinals. While Australia moves on to play for the gold medal in both the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball game, the Americans are playing for bronze. Following the 40-39 of the U.S. women, the U.S. men fell by a score of 72-63.
To commemorate the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympic Games,USParalympics.org will look back on the best performances of the Games through Sept. 9.