Olympic dream comes true for Thornton

Jessica Thornton

Before the Olympics Jessica Thornton said making the final of the women’s 4×400 metres relay would be a bonus.

But on Sunday morning (AEST) the Illawong Athletics Club member lived her dream, running in the final as part of the Australian team in Rio.

The 18-year-old, the youngest member of Australia’s track and field team, was the lead runner as the youthful relay team finished last in an eight-team field, having snuck into the final on Saturday.

Thecombination of Thornton, Anneliese Rubie, 24, Caitlin Sargent-Jones, 24, and Morgan Mitchell, 21, failed to make a dent at the Olympic Stadium but will take plenty from the experience.

The US retained their 4x400m crown for a sixth consecutive Games, holding off Jamaica to wingold. Great Britain were a distant third.

Australia gothome in 3:27.45. It was nearly two seconds slower than they had run the previous night to qualify. Had they recorded their heats time of 3:25.71 in the final, Australia’s team of Olympic debutantswould have taken an unlikely bronze medal.

The last time Australia made the final of the event – in 2000 – Nova Peris-Kneebone, Tamsyn Lewis, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Cathy Freeman came fifth in an Australian record time.

The young side will take plentyfrom reaching the final, with the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 on the horizon.

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