The speedy legs and cool head of Schillonie Calvert helped to secure Jamaica’s spot in the final of the women’s 4×100 metres relay to be run Friday at the Olympics in London. Calvert, a reserve on the relay team, was running the third leg in the second of two qualifying heats on Thursday evening.
The first two legs, run by Samantha Henry-Robinson and Sherone Simpson, had given Jamaica a slight advantage over the field. However, the exchange between Simpson and Calvert almost ended in disaster. In what seemed to take almost a second — an eternity in a race such as this — Simpson’s baton kept missing Calvert’s outstretched hand. When Calvert finally got a piece of the stick, the question seemed unsettled as to whether she would hold on to it. The tantalising moment soon came to an end as Schillonie, showing supreme equanimity, coolly used her other hand to help in securing control of the valuable implement before speeding off in pursuit of the Ukrainians who had taken advantage of Jamaica’s loss of rhythm.
The final changeover was made without drama to Kerron Stewart who took off after the leaders; failing by a hundredth of a second to win the heat, but still doing enough to get Jamaica into the final — Ukraine first: 42.36; Jamaica second: 42.37.