U.S. relay runner breaks leg mid-race, still completes turn
The U.S. men’s 4x400m relay team finished second in their heat today, qualifying for Friday night’s final, but not without a casualty along the way.
According to a report from NBC, Manteo Mitchell broke his leg during his part of the race with 200m left to run and remarkably, completed his turn on the track. Doctors say Mitchell broke his left fibula.
“I got out pretty slow, but I picked it up and when I got to the 100-meter mark it felt weird,” Mitchell told USA Track and Field. “I was thinking I just didn’t feel right. As soon as I took the first step past the 200-meter mark, I felt it break. I heard it. I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear it. I wanted to just lie down. It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half.”
Mitchell said he was inspired by teammate Joshua Mance waving him on, adding that he just didn’t want to let his three teammates down and was amazed that he split 45 seconds on a broken leg.
The men finished behind the Bahamas with a time of 2:58.87, and will certainly be feeling the pressure going into Friday’s final. The U.S. men have won gold in every 4x400m event since the 1976 Games, except for the boycotted 1980 Games.
It has not been announced who will replace Mitchell in Friday’s final, but he joins a growing list of injured U.S. runners, with both Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt suffering hamstring injuries in London.