Walter Dix anchors U.S. to close win at Penn Relays

Walter Dix
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Two-time Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix anchored the U.S. to victory by .01 of a second over Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the Penn Relays on Saturday.

Dix, who won 100m and 200m bronze at the 2008 Olympics, held off Jamaican anchor Oshane Bailey to win in 38.57 seconds at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

“Just had to dig down deep,” Dix said on NBCSN. “I knew that I didn’t want to let these guys down and let my country down. I had to run my hardest and hold that guy off.”

The U.S. won four of six “USA vs. The World” relay matchups at the meet, held annually since 1895.

Dix, 28, has been plagued by injuries since winning 100m and 200m silver medals at the 2011 World Championships. He failed to make the 2012 Olympic Team after suffering a hamstring injury at Olympic Trials.

The U.S. quartet of Charles Silmon, Olympic and world champion Justin GatlinMookie Salaam and Dix made it three straight U.S. wins in the men’s 4x100m at the Penn Relays.

“It’s a tradition,” Gatlin said. “We come out here. It’s not one person against another. It’s our country against the world. We’ve got to come out here and represent.”

Gatlin, who beat Usain Bolt at a Diamond League meet last year and took silver behind the Jamaican at the World Championships, has said his goal this season is to break Tyson Gay‘s American record of 9.69 in the 100m. He’s scheduled to race 100m at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston on May 3.

Bolt may not make his season debut until June. It’s unknown when Gay will race again after he tested positive last year. Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake is slated to run 150m in Manchester, England, on May 17.

The U.S. began the day with a loss to Jamaica in the women’s 4x100m relay.

The Jamaican team had the most decorated athlete in the field, three-time Olympic medalist Kerron Stewart. Stewart ran the second leg as Jamaica cruised to victory in 42.81 seconds.

“Everybody’s looking at Jamaican track and field right now as the top dogs,” Jamaican anchor Trisha-Ann Hawthorne said on NBCSN. “We’re coming out here knowing that everybody’s after us.”

The U.S. quartet of Stacey-Ann Smith, 2013 World Championships relay silver medalist Alexandria Anderson, two-time Olympian Muna Lee and LaKeisha Lawson clocked 43.15 for second ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.

The U.S. women came from behind on the final leg to win the sprint medley relay over Jamaica. Ajee Wilson, a 19-year-old student at nearby Temple University, erased a 1.3-second deficit on the 800m anchor to win in 3:37.94, .47 faster than Jamaica. The first three legs were 200m, 200m and 400m.

Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano anchored the U.S. men to victory in the distance medley relay.

The U.S. women won the 4x400m relay with a team that included Olympic relay champion DeeDee Trotter.

The finale, the men’s 4x400m relay, went to the Bahamas, which also won the London Olympic title. The U.S. was second.

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