The U.S. won gold over Usain Bolt at a global championship for the first time since 2007 in the 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday night.
The U.S. quartet of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey clocked 37.38 seconds, beating the Bolt-anchored Jamaican team that finished in 37.68.
Rodgers, Gatlin and Gay provided a .48 lead to Bailey, according to IAAF splits, which proved too much of a deficit for Bolt to make up in a rematch of the anchor legs from the 2012 Olympics. At the London Games, Bolt and Bailey received their batons almost simultaneously, and Bolt won it by two tenths of a second.
“I’m not in the best shape,” Bolt told media in Nassau.
On Saturday, Bailey celebrated the U.S. victory by mimicking Bolt’s famous “To Di World” pose, turning it into a throat-slashing gesture.
“I feel comfortable bringing it home, running against Usain,” Bailey told media in Nassau.
The U.S. quartet included the three fastest Americans in the 100m in 2014, plus Bailey, who was fifth in the 2012 Olympic 100m.
The Jamaican quartet did not include Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake, who has been plagued by injuries since he matched Gay as the second-fastest 100m sprinter ever two weeks after the London Olympics. Nor did it include Asafa Powell, the 100m world-record holder before Bolt who was the fastest Jamaican 100m sprinter in 2014.
“We just need to go back to the drawing board [for the World Championships relay in Beijing in August],” Bolt told media in Nassau.
The World Relays were anticipated as a Bolt-Gatlin showdown, but Gatlin, the fastest 100m sprinter in the world in 2014, ran the second leg in both the preliminary heat and the final, as he did in the London Olympic final. Bolt and Gatlin have not raced head to head since 2013.
Gatlin and the U.S. and Bolt and Jamaica could face off in the 4x200m relay as the World Relays close Sunday night (Universal Sports, 7 p.m. ET).
Earlier in the women’s 4x200m relay, Jeneba Tarmoh and Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix collided on the final exchange, with the U.S. giving up the lead and failing to finish. Tarmoh couldn’t get the baton into Felix’s hand, and both runners fell. The 4x200m is not an Olympic event.
Tarmoh and Felix memorably tied for third place in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 100m final. No tiebreaker was in place, a runoff was eventually decided and Tarmoh chose not to run, giving Felix the final individual spot on the Olympic team in the event.
Nigeria ended up winning the women’s 4x200m after the Tarmoh-Felix collision.
The U.S. women fared better in the distance medley relay, breaking the world record. The distance medley relay, also not an Olympic event, includes a 1200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m.
The U.S. quartet of Treniere Moser, Sanya Richards-Ross, Ajee’ Wilson and Shannon Rowbury clocked 10:36.50 (video here). The previous mark was 10:48.38, also set by the U.S., in 1988.
Richards-Ross is the Olympic 400m champion, Wilson was the fastest 800m runner in the world in 2014 and Rowbury was one of seven women to clock a sub-4-minute 1500m in 2014.
The U.S. quartet for Duane Solomon, Erik Sowinski, Casimir Loxsom and Robby Andrews edged Kenya to win the 4x800m relay (video here), which is also not contested at the Olympics. Kenya was then disqualified for an illegal baton exchange.
Solomon was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 800m final. Missing were Kenyan Olympic champion David Rudisha and American Nick Symmonds, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist.
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