The US vs. the World has become the most exciting highlight of the Penn Relays in recent years. This track and field event, which now has worldwide recognition, features some of the world’s best since it was introduced at Franklin Field. During any Olympic year, it can be assumed that, what happens at Franklin Field in Philly on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania the last weekend in April, will be a preview of what happens at the Olympics that same year. This year, the Olympic road leads to London, and we may have had a foretaste of things to come. The US track star contingent dominated their close rival Jamaica and the rest of the world on Saturday with a show stopping performance.
Friends to Double G Sports Natasha Hastings and LaShawn Merritt were there and, as usual, they did not disappoint. They brought their ‘A’ game and boy, did they show out! Our “golden girl and golden boy” took to the electrifying Penn Relays track atmosphere and put on a world-class performance. They both ran the 4x400m relay respectively. Natasha ran the third leg of her event with her teammates Francena McCorory, Allyson Felix and Sandra Richards-Ross. There was no doubt that Natasha ran the strongest leg to give Richards-Ross about a 10m lead to get the win. Thanks to Natasha, that lead gave the team an opportunity to set a Penn Relays record in that 4x400m, while the rest of the world was nowhere close. Her baton exchange was flawless, and so is her usual running style, the look of a consummate pro with veteran qualities. Natasha already has her sights set on London, another of her track and field goals. This would fulfill her dream of taking her mother, a former track star in the UK, back there. From what was seen today at Penn Relays, that dream may become a reality in the next ninety days.
And what can be said of LaShawn with his winning swag in the Men’s 4x400m? He did not disappoint in what could be considered another stellar performance of his. The team from the sunny Bahamas may have thought that they had the race won since they had dominated for most of the race. But, they may have forgotten who the anchorman was. He was the already medaled and decorated Olympic and World Champion who always delivers. The Bahamian Chris Brown was already in the lead when LaShawn got the stick. No avid track and field fan had any doubt that the US was going to take the lead despite what was happening. It was just a matter of how it was going to happen. But it seemed quite tactical when LaShawn decided to take over the race he rules. It could have been a part of his strategy to really put on a show at Franklin Field, and that he did. He waited patiently behind Brown, and then showed what he does best. That is anchor a relay to win the gold. He did it with his confident style of running, then cruising to the finish line. LaShawn also has his sights set on London.
Both of them will be running their track and field circuits leading up to the Olympics. So, if Penn Relays is any indication of what to expect from our Olympic friends, Natasha Hastings and LaShawn Merritt this summer in London, they would both be reaching another major accomplishment in their track and field careers. Congratulations to them both on the win at Penns from Double G Sports! Go for gold in London guys!