World Champs Men’s 4×4 — Blowing It Open Early

Time required for the baton between Michael Norman’s getting it from Elija Godwin till his handing it off: 43.64. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE UNITED STATES put an emphatic end to the men’s running events, running away from the field and winning by some 20m. The time of 2:56.17 was the fastest time in the world this year and No. 10 ever, with only other U.S. foursomes faster.

The Americans led the qualifying with a quartet of Elija Godwin (44.46), Vernon Norwood (44.73), Bryce Deadmon (44.48) and Trevor Bassitt (45.29). Their 2:58.96 put them 2.57 seconds up on Japan, the second-fastest team. When the U.S. added flat 400 gold medalist Michael Norman and 4th-placer Champion Allison while retaining the two fastest legs from the heats, the team was ready to roll.

The U.S. would be the only country with more than one 400 finalist, with Jamaica and Botswana each having one.

Leadoff Leg:
Godwin was off fastest, rounding the lane-6 first turn and holding at least a meter’s lead as the field ran the backstretch. He lengthened his lead substantially by the end of the straight, then made up the stagger on the lane-7 Polish team early in the turn.

By the end of the turn Godwin had also reeled in Jamaica’s Akeem Bloomfield in lane 8, and then caught lane-9 Trinidad as they neared the line. Godwin’s golden first leg of 44.28 put the U.S. ahead of Belgian Dylan Borlée’s 45.44 by 10m, with France’s Thomas Jordier (45.54) another meter back.

Second Leg:
The white-headbanded Norman, running the second leg rather than anchor, had one task: put the U.S. in commanding position and able to run clean, with no traffic. Beginning with a substantial lead, Norman ripped through the opening turn and hit the backstretch break line with an amazing lead of nearly 15m. The trailing teams, sprinting hard to gain position by the end of the straight, cut the lead to about 12m.

As they headed into the turn the trailing order was Trinidad, Jamaica and Belgium. Norman’s 43.64, the quickest of the race, turned over a lead of a bit more than 15m over Trinidadian Jereem Richards’ 43.87, with a 43.95 for Nathon Allen putting Jamaica half a meter farther back. More than another meter behind was Belgian Julien Watrin’s 44.54.

Third Leg:
Fully in control, Deadmon led the single-file field through the turn nearly 20m ahead when he hit the backstraight. Behind him the order remained unchanged, everyone free to run without interference. Midway through the second turn Belgium’s Alexander Doom passed Trinidad’s Shakeem McKay, who then relinquished another place to Japan’s Julian Walsh.

Deadmon’s 43.82, second-fastest of the race, turned over a lead of about 25m ahead of Jamaica, whose Jevaughn Powell had run 44.79. Behind him, Doom had split 44.67, leaving the Belgians a half-meter behind the Jamaicans, and Walsh had run 43.91, little more than a meter behind a medal.

Anchor Leg:
Champion Allison, he of the fitting first name, sprinted hard around the turn, trying to discourage anyone from closing. But on the backstretch the field did close, enough to wonder if there was perhaps a chance that Allison had gone out too hard. The trailers, who never changed positions during the closing lap were Jamaica’s Christopher Taylor, Kevin Borlée of Belgium and Yuki Nakajima of Japan.

Allison’s lead had shrunk by the end of the curve, but he gathered and pulled away in the homestraight as the field tied up from the desperate chase they’d made. Allison’s anchor of 44.43 was only the fifth-fastest among the 9 teams, but more than sufficient to clinch a 20m victory. Taylor ran 43.98 for Jamaica’s silver-medal 2:58.58, and Borlée 44.07 for the Belgian’s 2:58.72 bronze. Nakajima finished his leg in 44.68 as Japan ran 2:59.51 for an Asian Record, with Trinidad finishing 5th in 3:00.03.

All the winning runners expressed appreciation for the noisy home-country crowd. Deadmon noted, “In Tokyo, they had a virtual audio, but to hear this crowd here, it was crazy.”

Allison was thankful, saying, “I loved the crowd, they really helped me finish my last 100m.”


MEN’S 4×4 RESULTS

FINAL (July 24)

(temperature 88F/31C; humidity 41%)

1. United States 2:56.17 (WL, AL) (10 W, A)

(Elija Godwin 44.28, Michael Norman 43.64, Bryce Deadmon 43.82, Champion Allison 44.43);

2. Jamaica 2:58.58

(Akeem Bloomfield 45.86, Nathon Allen 43.95, Jevaughn Powell 44.79, Christopher Taylor 43.98);

3. Belgium 2:58.72

(Dylan Borlée 45.44, Julien Watrin 44.54, Alexander Doom 44.67, Kevin Borlée 44.07);

4. Japan 2:59.51 NR

(Fuga Sato 45.73, Kaito Kawabata 45.19, Julian Walsh 43.91, Yuki Joseph Nakajima 44.68);

5. Trinidad 3:00.03

(Dwight St. Hillaire 45.89, Jereem Richards 43.87, Shakeem McKay 46.16, Asa Guevara 44.11);

6. Botswana 3:00.14

(Zibani Ngozi 45.71, Leungo Scotch 45.28, Isaac Makwala 45.20, Bayapo Ndori 43.95);

7. France 3:01.35

(Thomas Jordier 45.54, Loïc Prévôt 44.70, Simon Boypa 46.13, Teo Andant 44.98);

8. Czech Republic 3:01.63 NR

(Matěj Krsek 46.21, Pavel Maslák 44.85, Michal Desenský 45.92, Patrik Šorm 44.65);

9. Poland 3:02.51

(Maksymilian Klepacki 46.69, Karol Zalewski 44.49, Mateusz Rzeźniczak 46.08, Kajetan Duszyński 45.25).

(best-ever mark-for-place: 9)

(lanes: 1. Botswana; 2. France; 3. Japan; 4. Czech Republic; 5. Belgium; 6. United States; 7. Poland; 8. Jamaica; 9. Trinidad)

(reaction times: 0.124 Czech Republic, 0.136 France, 0.145 Belgium, 0.162 Poland, 0.165 Japan, Trinidad & Botswana, 0.179 United States, 0.190 Jamaica)

Times & Places At Handoffs

Leg 1: 1. USA 44.28; 2. Belgium 45.44; 3. France 45.54; 4. Botswana 45.71; 5. Japan 45.73; 6. Jamaica 45.86; 7. Trinidad 45.89; 8. Czech Republic 46.21; 9. Poland 46.69

Leg 2: 1. USA 1:27.92; 2. Trinidad 1:29.76; 3. Jamaica 1:29.81; 4. Belgium 1:29.98; 5. France 1:30.24; 6. Japan 1:30.92; 7. Botswana 1:30.99; 8. Czech Republic 1:31.06; 9. Poland 1:31:18

Leg 3: 1. USA 2:11.74; 2. Jamaica 2:14.60; 3. Belgium 2:14.65; 4. Japan 2:14.83; 5. Trinidad 2:15.92; 6. Botswana 2:16.19; 7. France 2:16.37; 8. Czech Republic 2:16.98; 9. Poland 2:17.26

HEATS (July 23)

I–1. United States 2:58.96 (Godwin 44.46, Vernon Norwood 44.73, Deadmon 44.99, Trevor Bassitt 45.29); 2. Japan 3:01.53 (Walsh 44.99, Nakajima 45.96); 3. Jamaica 3:01.59 (Bloomfield, Powell 44.97, Karayme Bartley, Anthony Cox); 4. Trinidad 3:02.75 (St. Hillaire, Richards 44.82, Guevara, Kashief King);

5. Netherlands 3:03.14 (Isayah Boers, Terrence Agard, Nick Smidt, Ramsey Angela); 6. India 3:07.29 (Y. Muhammed Anas, V. Muhammad Ajmal, Pandi Naganathan, Rajesh Ramesh).

II–1. Belgium 3:01.96 (Watrin, D. Borlée 44.94, Jonathan Sacoor, K. Borlée); 2. Czech Republic 3:02.42 =NR; 3. Poland 3:02.51; 4. France 3:03.13 (Jordier, Prévôt 44.93, Andant, Ludovic Ouceni);

5. Italy 3:03.43 (Lorenzo Benati, Vladimir Aceti, Brayan Lopez, Edoardo Scotti); 6. Germany 3:04.21 (Marvin Schlegel, Manuel Sanders, Marc Koch, Patrick Schneider); 7. Botswana 3:07.32 (Makwala, Ngozi, Keitumetse Maitseo, Scotch) (advanced on appeal). ◻︎

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