EUGENE, Ore. – For the US women’s relay, this came as a shock.
For the men – more of it.
The women blew Jamaica away in the 4×100 relay at Saturday’s World Championships, while the favored men finished second after a sloppy relay handover, which was a ritual before anyone was born on this team.
Andre DeGrasse beat Marvin Bracy by 0.07 seconds to lead Canada to victory in the men’s race in 37.48 seconds.
Bracy fell back in the anchor leg after twice reaching backwards and puffing on the exchange of Elijah Hall, who fell to the ground after finally getting the racquet in his teammate’s hand.
“Not being clean cost us the race,” Bracy had posted on Twitter before even making it through the interview section. “No excuses. We let you all down, I apologize for that.”
US women felt nothing but love. A clear underdog to a Jamaican team that had won all but one of the six sprint medals at that meet, the USA caused an upset when Twanisha Terry held off 200-gold medalist Shericka Jackson with a 0.04-second win.
She celebrated by performing her “dirt bike dance” by hopping on one leg while spinning the handlebars of her pretend super-fast bike.
“I just felt the crowd going crazy,” Terry said. “It was very electrifying.”
The American team, which also included Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner and Jenna Prandini, finished in 41.14.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce kept her streak alive. Since 2007, she has won gold or silver in every world relay she has competed in. This year, however, nobody went into the relay in Jamaica thinking about second place.
Jamaica’s line-up included all three sprinters from his 100-meter sweep last weekend and both members of the 1-2 finish in the 200. His fate could have been sealed in a chaotic first pass between Kemba Nelson and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
“I don’t think there is a medal that is unique to Jamaica,” said Fraser-Pryce. “We have to get out of there and we have to work like everyone else.”
The USA had won all six medals in the men’s 100 and 200.
The relays proved once again that speed is not the only thing that counts in these races.
“You can have the fastest runner, but if there’s no chemistry and no trust, and the stick isn’t moving through the exchange, you’re not going to produce as fast,” explained Terry.
Although the US men will walk away with a medal this time – they have been disqualified from six of the last 13 World Championships and three of the last four Olympics – it can only be described as an unsatisfactory result.
“You could get out of here with nothing,” Bracy said. “But we have to clean it up. We still have a lot to do to become even better.”
De Grasse, the Olympic champion in 200 meters, could barely walk up his stairs four weeks ago while recovering from COVID-19. He didn’t make it through the 100m last weekend and retired from the 200m.
He won the gold medal with a team that included Aaron Brown, who finished seventh in the 200cc race and eighth in the 100cc race, Jerome Blake, who failed to make the finals in both, and Brendon Rodney, who was part of the Canada relay pool was .
“When I got the baton I was like, ‘Okay, I’m neck and neck with the USA and now I just have to do what I can do,'” said De Grasse. “It felt great spoiling the party for her.”
The USA fielded the same lineup as the day before for the preliminary rounds, leaving a number of medalists and speed – Trayvon Bromell, Erriyon Knighton, Kenny Bednarek and the injured Fred Kerley – on the bench.
hall stayed. His summary: A fifth place finish in the 100 at the Nationals this year, but also a 2018 NCAA relay title at the University of Houston, where legend Carl Lewis, who is also a constant critic of the US relay process, has been coaching for years .
“We were trying to put a team together to have some kind of continuity and get the stick around,” Bracy said. “We did a good job yesterday. We were just trying to come out and do the same thing today. It didn’t work out in our favor… and we took the ‘L’.
A thought for the men: Take a page out of the book written by women’s relay coach Mechelle Lewis Freeman.
Her team consisted of eighth-place finisher in the 100 (Jefferson), fifth-place finisher in the 200 (Steiner), and two others (Prandini and Terry) who didn’t make it out of their semifinals.
The first pass between Jefferson and Steiner might not have been surprisingly smooth, but neither was Jamaica’s.
Terry took the stick for the anchor leg about four paces ahead of Jackson, who had run the second-fastest time ever in the 200 (21:45) two nights earlier.
The Jamaican closed and closed some more, but as Terry leaned into the line, she had America’s first world win in that race since 2017, when Fraser-Pryce was out following the birth of her baby.
The relay medals earned the US 28 for the meet, just three short of setting a record for a world championship. It is favored for medals in the men’s and women’s 4×400 meters and the women’s 800 meters with Olympic champion Athing Mu.
Other winners on Saturday included Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir of Kenya in the men’s 800, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia in the women’s 5000, Anderson Peters of Grenada in the men’s javelin and Pedro Pichardo of Portugal, who bolstered his Olympic title with a world title in men’s triples jump.
The evening also included a (final?) curtain call for Allyson Felix, who was lured back onto the world stage to run the preliminary rounds in the women’s 4×400 race.
It sets Felix up to win her 20th World Championship medal and 14th gold after Sunday’s final. The USA has won the 4×400 in seven of the last nine world championships.
https://www.espn.com/olympics/trackandfield/story/_/id/34287178/us-women-shock-jamaica-win-4×100-relay-us-men-flounder-again-world-championships U.S. women shock Jamaica to win 4×100 relay; U.S. men flounder again at world championships