USA Women Defend 4×4 Relay Title and Men Regain Crown

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games ended Saturday night (20th) with victories for the USA in the women’s and men’s 4x400m relays.

Running against archrivals and 2015 World Championships winner Jamaica in the women’s event, the USA established a lead at the first exchange, which Jamaica’s 400m World bronze medalist Shericka Jackson closed significantly by the final exchange when she passed the baton almost simultaneously with the Americans. But while Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills – doing her last Olympic duty – managed to track Olympic silver medalist Allyson Felix closely for the most of the anchor leg, she came up short against Felix in the last 150 meters as the US successful defended their title in a season best 3:19.06.

Jamaica clocked a season best also in 3:20.34 ahead of Great Britain with veteran Christine Ohoruogu anchoring in 3:25.88. (Results)

Botswana Men Refused to Go Away

Minutes later, it was not an easy path to victory for the US in the men’s edition as six teams dipped below three minutes and defending champions Bahamas failed to replicate their 2012 feat, even with veteran 37-yr-old Chris Brown on anchor.

After the first exchange, Botswana’s Isaac Makwala held the lead over USA’s Arman Hall followed closely by Bahamas and Jamaica. At the halfway mark on the second leg, however, the USA’s Tony McQuay brought caught the leader Karabo Sibanda leaving Jamaica, Belgium and Bahamas in what looked like a tight battle for bronze.

A lead was then established on the third leg by Gil Roberts for the US, but Botswana refused to be shaken out of the number two position. With US and the Africans ahead at the final exchange, Brown grabbed the baton from the storming Steven Gardiner, quickly cut his way across Javon Francis of Jamaica to put Bahamas into the third spot. At this point, 400m bronze medalist LaShawn Merritt anchoring for the US was ahead with Botswana’s Gaone Leaname Maotoanong in hot pursuit.

By some 50 meters into the homestretch, the long-striding Francis (43.78) had steadily overhauled Maotoanong, Brown, and Belgium’s Kevin Borlee (43.67) but despite his surge, there was not enough meters left for him to catch Merritt (43.97). The US won in a world-leading 2:57.30 as Jamaica registered 2:58.16 for the silver and the Bahamas pipped Belgium for the bronze in 2:58.49. The top three teams ran season bests while Belgium and fifth place Botswana ran national records. (Results)