IT MAY NOT have been pretty, but the United States men got the stick around to recapture the 4×1 gold that last year went to Canada. The foursome of Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley, Brandon Carnes and Noah Lyles produced a world-leading 37.38 in becoming the ninth American squad to win the gold in 19 editions of the Worlds.
Sans Lyles, the same team qualified by winning heat I with J.T. Smith handling anchor duties. The first two handoffs went smoothly, but when Carnes got to Smith for the final exchange, he had to work hard to find Smith’s floating hand. The USATF Indoor 60 champ just barely held off the fast close of Ryan Watson and Abdul Hakim Sani Brown to cross in 37.67, just ahead of Jamaica (37.68) and Japan (37.71). France would end up getting one of two time qualifying spots with its 4th in 37.98.
In the second heat, Italy handled South Africa, 37.65–37.72, with Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs burning the backstretch. Great Britain got the third qualifier in 38.01, and Brazil earned the final time slot in 38.19.
Defending champion Canada controversially pulled Andre De Grasse off the relay to concentrate on the 200 final and ended up a non-qualifying 6th in 38.25.
For the final the United States drew lane 8, between South Africa and Japan. Italy, which had the fastest time in the heats, started in lane 5, with Jamaica in 6. Coleman, the ‘19 world 100 champ, produced his usual lightning start, and though he ran up a bit close to ‘22 world champ Kerley, he transferred the stick without incident.
On the backstretch, Jamaica’s Oblique Seville moved best, but was not even in Kerley’s sightline. The handoff from Kerley to Florida alum Carnes was rough, with Carnes having trouble finding the baton.
Carnes brought the team around the curve even with Jamaica and Italy, and after switching hands, his exchange with Lyles was the smoothest of the race. That gave this year’s double sprint champ the momentum he needed to pull away down the stretch to win by 2m, flashing three fingers to highlight his personal gold count as he finished.
The 37.38 was the second-fastest U.S. Worlds win ever, after only the 37.10 American Record set in Doha, by a squad also led off by Coleman and anchored by Lyles. Italy took the silver in 37.62 and Jamaica bronze in 37.76. Great Britain (37.80) and Japan (37.83) just missed.
Coleman: “I knew if I did my job well and got the stick to Fred, they were going to take care of the rest.”
Kerley: “It was nice and smooth. I knew I bopped the baton with the third leg. We had one job, to get the stick around, and that’s what we did.”
Carnes: “I was just thinking… just get it to Noah. I knew once I got it into his hands, it was game over.”
Concluded Lyles, “I love Team USA because everybody is coming here thinking ‘I’m going to win.’ We’re able to put that into a team effort and then we’re unstoppable. The individual races are all business but the team is fun. We all know we are fast. We don’t have to worry about whether we are going to win. It is just about getting the stick around and trusting each other. It’s fun to do this.”
MEN’S 4 x 100 RESULTS
FINAL (August 26)
1. United States 37.38 (WL, AL) (=9 W; =2A)
(Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley, Brandon Carnes, Noah Lyles);
2. Italy 37.62
(Roberto Rigali, Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Lorenzo Patta, Filippo Tortu);
3. Jamaica 37.76
(Ackeem Blake, Oblique Seville, Ryiem Forde, Rohan Watson);
4. Great Britain 37.80
(Jeremiah Azu, Zharnel Hughes, Adam Gemili, Eugene Amo-Dadzie);
5. Japan 37.83
(Ryuichiro Sakai, Hiroki Yanagita, Yuki Koike, Abdul Hakim Sani Brown);
6. France 38.06
(Mickael-Méba Zeze, Pablo Mateo, Ryan Zeze, Mouhamadou Fall);
… dnf—South Africa
(Shaun Maswanganyi, Benjamin Richardson, Clarence Munyai, Akani Simbine);
(Rodrigo do Nascimento, Jorge Vides, Erik Cardoso, Felipe Bardi).
(lanes: 2. Brazil; 3. France; 4. Great Britain; 5. Italy; 6. Jamaica; 7. South Africa; 8. United States; 9. Japan)
(reaction times: 0.146 United States, 0.148 Italy & Great Britain, 0.150 Brazil, 0.156 France, 0.164 Japan, 0.168 Jamaica, 0.172 South Africa)
HEATS (August 25)
I–1. United States 37.67 (WL, AL)
(Coleman, Kerley, Carnes, J.T. Smith);
2. Jamaica 37.68; 3. Japan 37.71; 4. France 37.98;
5. Trinidad 38.89 (Omari Lewis, Jerod Elcock, Revell Webster, Devin Augustine); 6. Hungary 39.55 (Dominik Illovszky, Bence Boros, Dániel Szabó, Márk Pap);… dnf—Netherlands, Germany.
II–1. Italy 37.65 (WL);
2. South Africa 37.72; 3. Great Britain 38.01 (Azu, Adam Gemili, Jona Efoloko, Amo-Dadzie); 4. Brazil 38.19 (Paulo André de Oliveira, Bardi, Cardoso, do Nascimento);
5. Nigeria 38.20 (Favour Ashe, Usheoritse Itsekiri, Alaba Akintola, Seye Ogunlewe); 6. Canada 38.25 (Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake, Brendon Rodney, Bolade Ajomale); 7. Switzerland 38.65 (Pascal Mancini, Bradley Lestrade, Felix Svensson, Enrico Güntert);… dnf—Poland.