Most memorable highlights of 'Super Saturday' at the 2012 Olympic Games
BY BUSTER LAING
On the day Jamaica's 100 meters world record holder Usain Bolt began his title defense, fellow compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was crowned the fastest woman in the world by winning her second successive women's 100m Olympic gold in 9.75 seconds.
Jessica Ennis, poster girl of the London Games, collapsed in tears after a capacity 80,000 crowd roared around the athletics track to victory in the heptathlon.
American Serena Williams winning the women's tennis final to seal a career "Golden Slam" of all four Grand Slam titles plus Olympic singles' gold.
Day Eight of the 2012 Olympic Games had been billed as 'Super Saturday,' and despite not winning any of the 25 gold medals offered on this day, Bahamian athletes made some noise on 'Super Saturday.'
Most Memorable Moments
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace became The Bahamas' Poster Girl and the Caribbean version of Gabby Douglas in the pool after a thrilling performance in the finals of the 50 meters Freestyle.
Wallace finished 8th with a time of 24.69, behind Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo Olympic record time of 24.05.
The 20-year-old made history by becoming the first Bahamian female, ever, to reach an Olympic final, when she qualified sixth overall in the women's 50m freestyle semis.
Her time of 24.64 set a new personal best and also goes down as a new Bahamian record.
Eight place finish but a first place finish in the hearts of all Bahamians.
Millions watched American great Michael Phelps swim his favorite butterfly stroke in his farewell race to help the United States win in the 4x100m medley relay, an event they have never lost.
Hundreds of thousands of Bahamians also witnessed Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie possible last race in the heats of the 100 meters.
McKenzie was part of the original 'Golden Girls' of the 2000 Sidney Olympics, which won the first athletic gold medal for The Bahamas in the 4x100 meters; a silver at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and also won a bronze medal in the 200 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
But at age 36, appearing in a record fifth Olympics, McKenzie finished fifth in time of 11.35 and failed to advance out of the first round for the first time ever.
McKenzie is the only Bahamian to ever advance to the finals of both the 100 and 200 meters in three straight Olympics.
The 'Big Three' advanced to the semifinals of the 400 meters
The much anticipated quarter mile big trio of Demetrius Pinder, Chris Brown and Ramon Miller all advanced to the semi finals of the 400 meters on Saturday in front of 80,000 fans.
Pinder won his heat in a time 44.92, the third fastest qualifying time. Brown then followed suit and won Heat #5 in a time of 45.40. Miller not to be out done, finished second in Heat #1 in 45.57 to advance to the semis.
With the reigning Olympic 400 meter champion, LaShawn Merritt of the United States not being able defend his title after pulling up with a hamstring injury Saturday in a preliminary heat, that left the field wide open for the coronation of a new Olympic champion.
The gold medal favorite in this event as well as a key component to the American's 4x400 relay team, Merritt had been dealing with an ailing left hamstring entering the Games.
Merritt served a 21-month drug suspension and needed a special ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sports to become eligible.
Merritt had tested positive three times for steroid derivatives known as DHEA and pregnenolone. But Merritt contended that the substances had been contained in an over-the-counter male-enhancement product.
"I'm not a doper," Merritt told the Bay Area New Group recently according to The Staff Wire report. "I simply made a mistake."
But now the London Games could be over for Merritt.
"Obviously this is the Olympic Games, so you're going to do all of the things to get healthy," Merritt said. "It is feeling a lot better, a whole lot better. I feel like the strength is there. But when I really went for it, I could feel it. I still have some more time before the relay comes up, but if I go out and really hit it and practice and I still feel it, then obviously I'll let somebody else run it."
No Merritt in the 400 meters, no Merritt in 4x400 meters, there could be a coronation of a new 400 meter 'King' crowned in the land of the Queen and Royal Family, possible hailing from the little Caribbean Island of The Bahamas. King Demetrius ... King Chris ... King Ramon.
Notes: Sheniqua 'Q' Ferguson finished seventh in the 100 meters semifinals in time of 11.32. Derrick Atkins advanced to the 100 semi finals by finishing second in a time of 10.22. Warren Fraser finished fourth in a time of 10.27 failing to advanced to the semis. Shuanae Miller suffered an injury in the women's 400 meter and did not finish. Raymond Higgs finished ninth in Group B with a leap of 7.76 in the men's long jump and 21st overall failing to make the final 12.
© 2012 The Freeport News