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New golden record

Valencia resident Neville on Olympic-winning relay team

Posted: August 23, 2008 9:56 p.m.
Updated: October 25, 2008 5:02 a.m.

David Neville, right, hands the baton to teammate Jeremy Wariner as they run to the gold medal in the men's 4x400-meter relay final.

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David Neville III finished his Olympic Games with the best result a runner could aim for - a gold medal and an Olympic record.

Neville ran the third leg of the men's 4 x 400-meter relay on Saturday at the National Stadium in Beijing in the Summer Olympic Games.

The native of Merrillville, Ind. trained and lives in Valencia and in Los Angeles.

The team led the race from the starting gun, setting a new Olympic benchmark with a time of 2 minutes, 55.39 seconds.

The relay team from the Bahamas took home silver (2:58.03), Russia earned bronze (2:58.06).

The U.S. team of leadoff runner LaShawn Merritt, Angelo Taylor, anchor Jeremy Wariner and Neville were the favorites coming in, as Neville had the fourth-fastest time in the world. Merritt had the fastest and Wariner the second-fastest time.

"We were on the best team in the world," Neville said. "Just being with those guys was an extreme honor."
Merritt, who won the gold medal in Thursday's 400-meter dash, set the tone.

He handed the baton off to Taylor, the gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, who in turn sprinted and gave it to Neville, who on Thursday earned a bronze medal while running from the farthest outside lane. Wariner took it home.

Team USA ran from Lane 7 near the outside.

"LaShawn gave us a pretty good lead," Neville said. "Angelo kept it going. I was able to extend our lead even more, then Jeremy blew it open."

It was the seventh consecutive Olympics the Americans have crossed the line first in this event.
"Everything was good," Neville said. "We had perfect handoffs."

After the race, Neville celebrated by appearing in photographs taken by the media with his teammates.

All four of them draped themselves in the American flag and took their victory lap around the stadium.

Neville's wife, Arial, was in the stands, along with both his parents.

The medal ceremony followed, with the national anthem playing loud.

"That was great to be able to stand up there," Neville said. "We were able to put it together. I was hoping to come over here to give it my all. I don't think I could've done any better."

Neville will not rest for long after the Olympics are over.

Today, he will compete in a meet in Zurich, Switzerland. Meets in Geneva, Switzerland and Brussels, Austria follow, then Neville plans on returning to Valencia on Sept. 7.

The past year, Neville has worked in a youth ministry at Santa Clarita Fellowship Church.

The next week, he wants to visit his family and friends in Merrillville, Ind., where a parade is planned in his honor.

"It was a great Olympics," Neville said. "We stayed focused and I thank God for what we were able to accomplish."

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