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Aug. 8, 2012

LONDON – Former Gamecocks Lashinda Demus and Jason Richardson both claimed silver Wednesday in London to bring the South Carolina track and field Olympic medal count up to 13 since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Demus claimed silver in the 400-meter hurdles at 52.77, the fastest second-place Olympic time in history, and Richardson claimed silver in the 110-meter hurdles at 13.04.

Having struggled with injuries all season and battling back problems in London, Demus ran a composed race in the 400 hurdles. Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer got out well in the outside lane, with Demus and Natalya Antyukh of Russia very close behind. The Russian moved into the lead halfway through and had a stride and a half lead over Demus coming off the penultimate hurdle. The 2008 silver medalist and 2011 world champion, Demus closed hard as both women lunged for the finish. Antyukh won in a personal-best time of 52.70, with Demus second in a season best of 52.77. Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic won bronze in 53.88. Demus and Moline ran the fastest second-place time in Olympic history.

“I can’t explain how bad I wanted a gold,” Demus said. “I have been dreaming about it for years. So many people were supporting me. I am grateful I got on the podium. Number two in the world says a lot but number one says a lot more so I won’t stop till I get that. I’m a fighter, I have always been one.”

The 2011 World Outdoor champion, Richardson was slightly sluggish out of the blocks but passed world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba over the fourth hurdle to move into second. He finished in 13.04 to win the silver medal, holding off Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, who was third in 13.12.

“You don’t train to get second,” Richardson said. “I’m so happy for Aries (Merritt, gold medalist from USA). I made a few tactical errors but I didn’t give up. The best man won here today. It is an honor to be part of a race with two American medals. I am very happy for the experience. If I am satisfied with silver then there is no hope for gold, so I will keep that hunger.”

Natasha Hastings is the final Gamecock that may compete in London 2012. A member of the United States 4×400-meter relay pool, Hastings could hit the track in Friday’s heats or Saturday’s final if selected.