In four events at the Olympic Stadium, the United States came away with three gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals. Brittney Reese won the long jump and Aries Merritt won the 110-meter hurdles.
At the United States Olympic trials, Felix, 26, had run 21.69, history’s fourth-fastest performance, to become the favorite in London. She finished fifth in the 100 meters on Saturday, an event she used to help her prepare for the speed and endurance required in the 200.
It paid off on Wednesday, as Felix crossed the finish line with a smile of relief on her face after settling for silver in the 200 meters in 2004 and 2008.
“I mean, finally,” she said after the race. “It’s been a long time coming. I am so overjoyed.”
Running in Lane 7, she could not see any of her main challengers until she exited the curve, except for her countrywoman, Carmelita Jeter, who was outside in Lane 9. Jeter, who took silver in the 100, won bronze in the 200 in 22.14.
But it hardly mattered that Felix had an impaired view of her opponents. She made up the stagger and surged coming out of the curve to pass the two-time defending Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica.
Felix held her elegant form nicely and pulled away in the homestretch, becoming the only sprinter to finish under 22 seconds. Campbell-Brown faded to fourth, while her fellow Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the two time Olympic 100-meter champion, took silver in the 200 in 22.09.
“To twice lose to the same person, it’s been tough,” Felix said, referring to Campbell-Brown. “But it’s all paying off.”
In the 110-meter hurdles, Merritt prevailed after two of his chief rivals went down with injuries. Liu Xiang of China, hobbled by an Achilles’ tendon injury, failed to make it past the first hurdle in the first round Tuesday. Dayron Robles, the world-record holder and defending Olympic champion, pulled up with an injury in the final after the sixth hurdle.
Merritt is the first hurdler for the United States to win the event since Allen Johnson in 1996.
In the semifinals of the men’s 200, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the defending Olympic champion and world-record holder in 19.19, ran a relaxed and controlled semifinal, qualifying for Thursday’s final in 20.18 seconds.
He won the 100 on Sunday and is seeking to become the first sprinter to win the 100 and 200 at successive Olympics.
“That is why I am here, to cement my legendary status,” Bolt, 25, said.
Yohan Blake of Jamaica, Bolt’s training partner who ran history’s second fastest time of 19.26 last year and defeat Bolt at the Jamaican trials, ran the fastest qualifying time in 20.01 seconds, easing up considerably near the end of the race. Wallace Spearmon of the United States had the second fastest qualifying time, 20.02.
“I’ve been working hard,” Blake said. “All I need to do is kick well.”