The U.S.-Jamaica sprint rivalry was one-sided at the World Championships, but that didn’t stop American Mike Rodgers from talking a big game after the 4×100-meter relay Sunday. Nor did it keep Usain Bolt from responding.
Bolt anchored Jamaica to gold in the final event of worlds, beating Justin Gatlin on the last leg despite beginning that final 100 slightly behind Gatlin. The U.S.’ final baton exchange from Rakieem Salaam to Gatlin was not nearly as clean as Jamaica’s final pass to Bolt though.
Jamaica won in 37.36 seconds, three tenths of a second ahead of the U.S.
“I think we would have won, they know it, I think we gave away a gold medal today,” Rodgers said, according to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
Bolt did not agree.
“They couldn’t have said that, they couldn’t have said that,” he repeated four times while shaking his head, according to the CMC. “They were like two meters in front of me. I have been in worst positions running from my blocks and won. I wasn’t worried any at all about USA beating us, because I was confident in my team and I know if my guys didn’t bring it to me leading, it would be close.”
Earlier at worlds, Rodgers made news by turning his head to look at Bolt near the finish of their 100-meter semifinal. Bolt, 6-foot-5, won the final. Rodgers, 5-foot-9, was sixth.
Bolt added that Gatlin, the silver medalist to Bolt in the 100, would have probably needed to be at least 10 meters ahead for the U.S. to beat Jamaica.
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