OSAKA, Japan — She is graceful, gracious and oh, so fast.
Allyson Felix ran one of the greatest 400-meter relay legs in the sport’s history Sunday night to help the United States bring a triumphant end to its most dominant showing ever at a world track and field championships.
With 26 medals, 14 of them gold, the Americans delivered just the performance they wanted heading in to 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“I think we have a great feeling going into the next year,” Felix said.
The meet ended with Jeremy Wariner, a two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist, clocking 43.10 seconds in the anchor leg of the victorious U.S. men’s 1,600-meter relay team.
“We just sat back and watched them,” Felix said. “They were the completion of it all, and it was just an amazing feeling.”
There were polite hugs, then all eight paraded with big American flags on yet another U.S. victory lap under the lights of Nagai Stadium.
The superlatives were many for the Americans:
• Felix became the second woman to win three gold medals at a world championships. The other was Marita Koch of East Germany at the first worlds in 1983.
• The men ran the third-fastest 1,600 relay in history and second-fastest at the worlds.
• The United States became the first country to sweep all four relay events at a worlds.
• The Americans matched their record 14 gold medals won two years ago in Helsinki and the record 26 overall medals won in 1991.
• Bernard Lagat became the first to win the 1,500 and 5,000 at a worlds. He had only won a bronze in his long career running as a Kenyan before this, his first major international competition running for America. The United States had never won a gold in the 1,500, and Lagat’s victory in the 5,000 Sunday brought the first U.S. medal of any kind in the event.
• Despite what he called “a very poor performance,” Breaux Greer won a bronze in the javelin, only the second American to medal in the event and first since Tom Petranoff’s silver in 1983.
And that’s only what happened Sunday.
On Saturday, 100 and 200 champion Tyson Gay ran a leg for the winning 400 relay team to join Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene as the only men to win three golds at a worlds.
Felix’s breathtaking second leg of the women’s 1,600 was timed unofficially by the U.S. staff at 48 seconds. That’s faster than the 48.2 Florence-Griffith Joyner ran in helping set the American record at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
During her magnificent week, she also defended her 200 title and ran the second leg of the winning 400 relay team.
In other events, Blanka Vlasic of Croatia won the high jump, Tero Pitkamaki of Finland the javelin, Alfred Kinwa Yego of Kenya the 800 and Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain the women’s 1,500.