USA had a point to prove and this they did in style, storming to the second fastest time in history since their World Record (WR) of 40.82s, to win the women’s 4x100m GOLD ahead of rivals Jamaica, clocking an astonishing 41.01s to claim bragging rights for the next four years.
Tianna Bartoletta ran a brilliant first leg from Lane 1 to establish the lead for the Americans, handing the baton to Allyson Felix who further widened the gap before English Gardner took over, handing the baton to Tori Bowie who powered home and could not be stopped by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who ran the anchor leg for Jamaica.
What makes USA’s feat even more commendable is the fact that this is the first time since 1972 that a relay race was won from Lane 1.
The Jamaican team comprising of Christania Williams, Elaine Thompson, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Fraser-Pryce came in 2nd in a Season’s Best (SB) of 41.36s, with Great Britain’s quartet of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita running a National Record (NR) of 41.77s to take Bronze.
Germany was 4th in 42.10s, while Trinidad and Tobago returned a time of 42.12s, an SB, to place 5th. Ukraine (42.36s) and Canada (43.15s) finished 6th and 7th respectively, while the Nigerian quartet of Gloria Asumnu, Blessing Okagbare, Jennifer Madu and Agnes Osazuwa placed 8th in a time of 43.21s.
This was indeed a huge change of fortunes for the US team which had almost missed competing in the final after Allyson Felix was bumped by a Brazilian just before handing the baton to English Gardner in the heats, which caused her to drop the stick.
The US Olympic Committee subsequently protested and the 4x100m team was given the opportunity of a solo re-run where they clocked 41.77s, which was faster than China’s qualifying time of 42.70s from the heats, to eventually make the final.
The GOLD medal will be a huge consolation to Felix who missed out on an individual title in the 400m where she tool Silver behind Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas.
With the 4x100m GOLD, Felix becomes the first American woman to win five Olympic GOLD medals. She would be gunning for another GOLD medal in the 4x400m on Saturday.
In the same vein, Bowie would also be pleased with her outing in Rio, as she goes back home with three medals of all colours: GOLD in the 4x100m, Silver in the 100m and Bronze in the 200m.
The relay GOLD will be Bartoletta’s second in Rio, after winning the Long Jump ahead of compatriot, Brittney Reese. She also won a 4x100m GOLD at the London 2012 Games after partnering Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter to run the WR of 40.82s.