A few days ago, Sanya lost a large lead in the last 100 meters of the 400 Meter Olympic Final. Sanya, in Lane 7, finished third.
Afterwards, Sanya said she got a hamstring cramp as she came down the homestretch.
Yesterday, as Sanya waited to run the anchor leg of the 1600 Meter Relay: the girl needed redemption; the girl needed vindication.
I often say that good athletes who fail, and good teams who fail, at some point say to themselves: "Dadgumnit! I am better than this, and I WILL NOT allow myself to fail again." Then they go out and accomplish whatever it is they had previously failed to accomplish. As she awaits the baton, that sentiment is written all over Sanya Richards' face.
She took the baton a full 5 meters behind Russia's best runner.
Midway through the last curve, Sanya was a full 7 meters behind. She made her move.
She began closing the gap.
Could she close it all?
With a scant 30 meters to go: Sanya still closed, yet still trailed. The 400 is an insanely painful race. These women are in great pain.
She made it! She's gonna do it! Working from memory, and with the hashmarks: this is 18 meters from the finish.
4 meters from the finish.
1 1/2 meters from the finish.