BARCELONA, Spain – Hopefully customs aren't too hard on people bringing back gold from overseas because that's exactly what VCU rising sophmore Kiara Porter will have in her possesion on her return trip from the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
However, Porter took an unusual route to her gold medal.
The Yorktown, Va. native ran the third leg of the USA 4x400 meter relay in the prelims on Thursday night, where the squad posted the top prelim time of 3:34.12. But, the team was later disqualified as a result of being outside the exchange zone on the race's first exchange.
However, after appeals were made, the decision was made to offer the team a rerun due to an error by track officials, who placed the second-leg runners in the wrong position, near the end of the exchange zone.
Less than 24 hours after their first preliminary race, the team had to run a time of 3:39.44 or better to earn the final qualifying spot. Inside an empty Olympic stadium in Barcelona, the foursome blistered the track for a world-junior leading time of 3:34.25 to earn the spot in the finals.
Facing a third 4x400 meter relay race in a 24-hour span, the USA staff decided to rest Porter for the finals and bring in two fresh runners. The USA went on to win the 4x400 gold for the sixth straight time at the world junior championships. Since Porter was a part of the two prelim races, she will be given a gold medal as well.
All told, Team USA came out of the championships with the most overall medals (20), most golds (9), equaled for most silvers (4), most bronzes (7) and most team points (188). The point total of 188 points is the most for any U.S. junior squad.
Porter will return to the States on Monday and prepare for another shot at VCU history in 2012-13.