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Posted: April 24, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: USA vs. The World's top ten moments

PHILADELPHIA - Heading into the tenth edition of USA vs. the World at the 113th Penn Relays, USA Track & Field on Thursday announced the top ten moments of USA vs. the World.

In its remarkable nine-year run, USA vs. The World has provided countless thrills and unforgettable moments in front of many of the largest crowds in the glorious history of The Penn Relays at Franklin Field. USA vs. The World has brought the best relays teams from around the globe together, with teams such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Great Britain, Russia, Australia, Canada, Kenya, Germany and Nigeria traveling to the Philadelphia to compete.

As selected by USA Track & Field and outside track and field experts, here's a look back at the 10 Greatest Moments of USA vs. The World at Penn Relays:

10. In 2008, Allyson Felix overtook Sanya Richards in the anchor leg as Team USA Red (Lauryn Williams, Miki Barber, Lisa Barber, A. Felix) won the women's 4x100m relay in 42.57 seconds. USA Blue (Muna Lee, Torri Edwards, Carmelita Jeter, S. Richards) finished a close second in 42.64. The second-highest ever one day crowd in Penn Relays history (49,831) was on hand to witness the action.

9. In 2008, Leroy Dixon got off quickly running the lead leg for the Team USA Red squad in the men's 4x100m relay. Just prior to handing off to Wallace Spearmon, Dixon was hit in the left eye by a Canadian runner's right arm causing him to stop abruptly. After gathering himself, Dixon handed the baton to Spearmon, but the damage was done. Under the circumstances, Team USA Red's fourth-place time of 39.38 was respectable, but the Jamaican foursome of Marvin Anderson, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and Dwight Thomas won the race. This was the first time Jamaica won the men's 4x100m.

8. In 2007, following a blistering 2nd leg run that helped USA Red win the Visa women's 4x100m relay, Allyson Felix dominated the 4x400m with a magnificent effort on the 2nd leg (50.2), where she expanded her team's lead by nearly 30 meters! Mary Wineberg, Moushaumi Robinson and Debbie Dunn joined Felix in posting the winning time of 3 minutes 24.70 seconds, which was more than five seconds faster than the second-place Jamaican squad.

7. In 2006, a highly competitive men's 4x400m relay was won by the USA Red squad with Wallace Spearmon barely reaching the finish line ahead of Olympic relay gold medalist Darold Williamson running for USA Blue. The Red quartet finished in 3:00.09, with the Blue unit second in 3:00.13. The World All-Stars were third in 3:00.56 and Jamaica fourth in 3:00.83. 49,771 fans were on hand to see the action that Saturday afternoon. A Penn Relays record crowd of 114,194 fans enjoyed the three days of the Carnival.

6. In 2006, Kenya made its first-ever appearance at USA vs. The World count in a big way with a dramatic win in the Nike Men's Distance Medley Relay. It all came down to a dramatic photo finish with former Kenyan Bernard Lagat, competing for the first time ever in a USA singlet, running the 1,600m anchor leg for the USA Blue squad. Khadevis Robinson built a slight lead for USA Blue during his 800m third leg before handing the baton to Lagat, who staged a dramatic duel to the finish with Commonwealth Games champion Alex Kipchirchir, who brought the baton home first for Kenya (9:15.56) with USA Blue the runner-up, finishing a heartbreaking .07 hundredths of a second behind the winners. Both teams smashed the previous "World Record" of 9:20.10, set by Arkansas at Penn in 1989.

5. In 2005, the USA Red women's sprint relay crushed the then world best in the sprint medley relay, posting a time of 3 minutes 37.42 seconds in breaking the University of Tennessee's mark of 3:41.78 at the 2004 Penn Relays. Allyson Felix led off for the U.S. quartet followed by Kia Davis, Debbie Dunn and three-time Olympian Hazel Clark. Clark held off Kenia Sinclair as Jamaica was also under the old record.

4. In 2005, Jamaica crossed the finish line first for the first time at a USA vs. The World at the Penn Relays with a dramatic finish in the men's 4x400m relay. Jermaine Gonzales grabbed the lead for Jamaica with an impressive third leg performance before handing the baton to countryman Davian Clarke, who barely staved off USA Blue's anchorman Leonard Byrd, who made up ground but was unable to pass the speedy Clarke. During the second leg, USA Red's chances ended when Tyree Washington fell to the track after tangling with Bahamian Chris Brown. The Jamaican team won the race in 3:02.63.

3. In 2002, in one of the most unforgettable finishes ever at USA vs. The World, Jamaican anchor runner Tayna Lawrence held a one-meter lead when she took the baton in the women's 4x200m relay. Lawrence held a clear advantage towards the end when she stumbled and fell inches in front of the finish line handing the USA Blue team the victory in 1 minute 30.87 seconds. An all-time, single-day record Penn Relays crowd of 50,827 enthusiastically showed its appreciation throughout the competition.

2. In 2001, National Track & Field Hall of Famer, four-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Michael Johnson competed for the final time on American soil when he ran the anchor leg on Team USA's winning men's 4x400m relay quartet. Team USA trailed Jamaica when Johnson was handed the baton prior to posting a split of 44.2 seconds as the U.S. squad captured the win in 2 minutes 58.60 seconds.

1. In 2000, the inaugural USA vs. The World featured scintillating performances by America's finest sprinters in front of a large and receptive crowd at Franklin Field. All-time greats Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson (Penn debut) led Team USA to a six-win sweep that showcased America as the world's leading sprint power. The Penn Relays will never be the same!

For more information on USA vs. The World, visit /www.visachampionshipseries.com.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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