U.S. men end 4x100m relay drought with first title in 12 years

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The U.S. men are global 4x100m champions for the first time in 12 years, coinciding with the program’s return to the top in sprinting after Usain Bolt‘s retirement.

Christian ColemanJustin GatlinMike Rodgers and Noah Lyles authored an American record 37.10 seconds — third-fastest time in history — to win the world title in Doha on Saturday night.

The U.S. men had botched handoffs, been disqualified or were flat out beaten by Jamaica or Great Britain at the last three Olympics and five world championships.

In Friday’s preliminary heat, they were third and nearly disqualified for a handoff between Rodgers and Cravon Gillespie on the edge of the zone.

But this final group, led off by the world 100m champion, anchored by the world 200m champion and filled with two veterans, left no doubt. The beat European record-breaking Great Britain by .26 of a second and Japan by .33. Jamaica, in its first worlds without Bolt, did not qualify for the final.

Gatlin, a 37-year-old likely in his last world championships, earned relay gold for the first time in nine attempts between the Olympics and worlds.

“This gold means so much to me, probably a lot more than a lot of the medals I’ve won individually,” he said.

The U.S. women took bronze behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Jamaica and a silver-medal British team anchored by Dina Asher-Smith. The Americans’ finish is indicative of their standing in the flat sprints with no individual Olympic gold-medal contenders.

The U.S. quartet Saturday — Dezerea Bryant, Teahna Daniels, Morolake Akinosun and Kiara Parker — included zero women who have earned an individual Olympic or world championships medal.

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