ATHENS, Greece – For former University of Arkansas Lady Razorback sprinter Veronica Campbell it was a dream come true as she powered her way past the field at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad to win gold for her native Jamaica in the 200 meters on Wednesday.
Having already earned bronze in the 100-meter dash, Campbell entered the finals of the 200 with the top two times in the world this year. She did not disappoint those in attendance as she once again set the standard for those to chase at 22.05 on way to her gold medal.
“Oh my gosh,” Arkansas head track coach Lance Harter said. “One of the things that Veronica said was that she wanted to hear her anthem being played and now that dream has come true. This could not go to anyone more deserving.”
Similar to her semifinals race, Campbell got off to a good start, making up the stagger on her outside lane quickly. Accelerating through the 100-meter mark, Campbell maintained her poise down the home stretch as her competition chased the world’s fastest 200-meter runner. The United States’ Allyson Felix finished second at 22.18 with Bahamian Debbie Ferguson third at 22.30. Campbell now owns the top three 200-meter times in the world this year with Felix’s 22.18 tying Campbell’s third best mark.
“After yesterday, I certainly thought that Veronica winning was a possibility,” Harter said. “She put up a great mark at the Jamaican championships and when no one came close to that time, I thought she could do it.”
Campbell’s gold medal is her second medal of the 2004 Athens games and the third of her illustrious career. She took the bronze in the 100 meters on Saturday and earned silver at the 2000 games in Sydney as a part of Jamaica’s 4×100-meter relay team.
Despite running eight races in Athens so far, Campbell is still not finished competing. She is scheduled to run in the 4×100-meter preliminaries on Thursday and the finals of the same race on Friday. Should she compete in either round, she would be eligible for a medal if the Jamaican’s finish in the top three. Also on the schedule for the Lady Razorbacks on Thursday is LaShaunte’a Moore, a semifinalist in the 200 meters at the games, who may get the opportunity to run on the United States’ 4×100 relay.