US women stun Jamaica to win 4×100 relay; U.S. men wade to world championships again

EUGENE, Oregon. — For the United States women’s relay team, it was a shock.

For men – more of the same.

The women pulled off a stunner over Jamaica in the 4×100 relay at the world championships on Saturday, while the favored men finished second after a botched baton exchange in what has been a ritual since before anyone was born on this team.

Andre DeGrasse beat Marvin Bracy to the line by 0.07 seconds to lead Canada to victory in the men’s race in 37.48 seconds.

Bracy fell behind in the anchor leg after twice reaching for the back and sniffing the exchange from Elijah Hall, who fell to the floor after finally putting the stick in his teammate’s hand.

“Not being clean cost us the race,” Bracy had said. tweeted even before crossing the interview area. “No apologies. We’ve dropped my apologies to you all.”

American women only felt love. Clearly overlooked by a Jamaican team that had won all but one of the six sprint medals at this meet, the United States came as a surprise when Twanisha Terry held off 200m gold medalist Shericka Jackson for a victory of 0.04 seconds.

She celebrated by doing her “mountain bike dance”, jumping on one foot while spinning the handlebars of her super-fast fake bike.

“I just felt the crowd go crazy,” Terry said. “It was very electrifying.”

Team USA, which also included Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner and Jenna Prandini, finished in 41.14.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce kept her streak alive. She has won gold or silver in every world relay she has entered since 2007. No one in Jamaica came to the relay thinking of second place this year.

Jamaica’s roster included the three sprinters in its 100-meter sweep last weekend and the two members of the 1-2 finish in the 200. Its fate could have been sealed in a messy first pass between Kemba Nelson and Elaine Thompson-Herah.

“I don’t think there’s a medal that’s reserved just for Jamaica,” Fraser-Pryce said. “We have to go and we have to work like everyone else.”

The United States had won all six medals in the men’s 100 and 200m, but the relays proved, once again, that sheer speed isn’t all that matters in these races.

“You can have the fastest runner, but if there’s no chemistry and confidence, and the stint doesn’t move in the rally, you’re not going to produce that fast,” said explained Terry.

Although the American men come away with a medal this time – they had been shut out in six of the last 13 World Championships and three of the last four Olympics – that can only be presented as an unsatisfactory result.

“You could walk out of here with nothing,” Bracy said. “But we have to clean everything up. We have a lot of work to do to keep improving.”

De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champion, could barely climb his stairs four weeks ago as he recovered from COVID-19. He failed to make it past the 100 meter qualifiers last weekend and retired from the 200 meters altogether.

He won the gold medal with a team that also included Aaron Brown, who finished seventh in the 200 m and eighth in the 100 m; Jerome Blake, who didn’t make the final either; and Brendon Rodney, who was part of Canada’s relay pool.

“Once I took over, I was like, ‘OK, I’m neck and neck with the United States and now I just have to do what I can do,'” De Grasse said. “It was great to ruin the party for them.”

The United States fielded the same roster as the day before for the prelims, leaving a string of medalists and speed – Trayvon Bromell, Erriyon Knighton, Kenny Bednarek and the injured Fred Kerley – on the bench.

Hall stayed. His resume: A fifth-place finish in the 100m at the national championships this year, but also an NCAA relay title in 2018 at the University of Houston, where legend Carl Lewis, who constantly criticizes the American relay process, has coached for years .

“We tried to put together a team to have some kind of continuity and get the baton flowing,” Bracy said. “We did a good job yesterday. We just tried to go out and do the same today. It didn’t work in our favor…and we took the ‘L.'”

A thought for the men: Take a page from the book being written by women’s relay coach Mechelle Lewis Freeman.

His team consisted of eighth-place finisher in the 100m (Jefferson), fifth-place finisher in the 200m (Steiner) and two others (Prandini and Terry) who did not make it through to their semifinals.

The initial pass between Jefferson and Steiner may not have been incredibly smooth, but neither was Jamaica’s.

Terry took the pole for the anchor leg about four steps ahead of Jackson, who two nights earlier had run the second-fastest time ever in the 200m (21.45).

The Jamaican closed and closed a bit more, but when Terry leaned over the line, she earned America’s first world championship victory in this race since 2017, when Fraser-Pryce was out after having his baby.

The relay medals gave the US 28 for the meet, just three shy of setting a record for a world championship. She will be favored for the medals in the men’s and women’s 4x400m and the women’s 800m with Olympic champion Athing Mu.

Other winners on Saturday included Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir of Kenya in the men’s 800m, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia in the women’s 5,000m, Anderson Peters of Grenada in the men’s javelin and Pedro Pichardo of Portugal, who confirmed his Olympic title with a world title in the men’s triple. jump.

The evening also featured a (final?) encore for Allyson Felix, who was drawn onto the world championship stage to race the prelims for the women’s 4×400 race.

This sets up Felix to win his 20th world championship medal and his 14th gold after Sunday’s final. The United States has won the 4×400 in seven of the last nine world championships.

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