RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil –Former Razorback Taylor Ellis-Watson may not have raced the finals but leaves Rio de Janeiro with her head held high as an Olympic champion and member of Team USA’s 4-x-400-meter relay pool.
The Arkansas 400 record holder played a major role for Team USA in the preliminary round of the event, rounding the stadium like a rocket in 50.46 seconds as the second leg of the American 1,600 relay quartet.
Understanding the dynamics of relay pools and optimum selection, Ellis-Watson was proud to be a contributor for her country, knowing she had a hand in securing the final track and field Olympic victory for the U.S. national team.
“I want to say one more time, thank you for the overwhelming support I am receiving from my family and friends,” Ellis Watson posted on Facebook. “I also want everyone to know that I will not be running in today’s final … but that is okay. I played the part I was supposed to play this time around and helped this 4-x-400 team get to the position they are in now to get the gold, which I know will happen. Thanks again for the support and Go Team USA!”
The 2016 NCAA Women of the Year nominee spiritedly cheered on her teammates, including Allyson Felix, Phyllis Francis, Natasha Hastings and Courtney Okolo from the sidelines, watching the group dominate the field and cruise to a new world-leading time of 3 minutes, 19.06 seconds.
Ellis-Watson is the fourth Razorback in program history to win an Olympic gold medal and the first to do so in the 4-x-400 relay.
Represented by 14 past and present student-athletes, Arkansas track and field capped its 2016 showing in Rio with four Olympic medals – two gold and two silver – setting a new program record with four individual medalists on the world stage.
2016 Arkansas Track & Field Olympic Medalists
110 Hurdles | Omar McLeod (Jamaica) – Gold, 13.05
4-x-100 Relay | Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica) – Silver, 41.36
4-x-400 Relay | Taylor Ellis-Watson (USA) – Gold, 3:
Pole Vault | Sandi Morris (USA) – Silver, 4.85m/15-11
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