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Athletics - 16. August 2008.

Fountain of bronze

Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio) became the only American woman other than Jackie Joyner-Kersee ever to win an Olympic medal in the heptathlon, coming away with a bronze-medal performance of 6,619 points. Nataliia Dobrynska of Ukraine won the gold with a personal-best 6,733 points, with fellow Ukranian Lyudmila Blonska second with 6,700. It was the second night in a row in which the U.S. women had won a medal in an event for the first time since 1992. Joyner-Kersee won heptathlon gold in 1992 and 1988 and silver in 1984, putting Fountain in very elite company.

After a mediocore performance in the long jump Saturday morning, Fountain got the night off with a javelin throw of 41.93m/137-6, well below her personal best of 48.15m/157-11 set at the Olympic Trials. It was good enough for 704 points and kept her in second place with 5,733 points, just 5 ahead of Blonska but well ahead of fourth-place Tatiana Chernova of Russia (5,575). The gap on fourth gave Fountain some margin of error heading into the 800, which is not historically a strong event for her, as she attempted to secure her first major championship medal.

In the 800, Fountain turned in a huge personal-best clocking 2:15.45 for 886 points, nabbing her the bronze by keeping her ahead of Chernova, who won the 800 in 2:06.54 for 1,016 points. Fountain's time shattered her previous personal best of 2:27.69. Chernova finished fourth overall with 6,591 points.

Jacquelyn Johnson (Tempe, Ariz.) suffered a left hamstring injury and did not start Saturday night's competition.

In the women's shot put, Jillian Camarena (Tempe, Ariz.) was 12th with a best of 18.24m/59-10.25, and Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) was 15th with 17.74/58-2.5. Valerie Vili of New Zealand won with an Area Record toss of 20.56m/67-5.5.

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