World Champs Mixed 4×4 — U.S. Slips To Bronze

The U.S. began the final leg in the lead but ended up 3rd as the Dominican Republic & Netherlands swept by. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

“A-TEAM OR B-TEAM?” That was the question the U.S. had to assess when creating a line-up for the second-ever WC mixed 4×4.

Presuming the question revolved around how to win the race, the eventual decision was the wrong one as the U.S. squad finished 3rd, matching its bronze from last year’s Olympics.

Codification of the team-composition rules made life simpler for coaching staffs. The running order adopted was fixed as man/woman/man/woman and allowing only one substitution from heats to final helped minimize the advantages for the larger nations.

The Dominican Republic, running its best 4 in both rounds, earned gold with a 3:09.42, the second-fastest in history, trailing only the WR of 3:09.34 set by the U.S. while winning the ’19 WC in Doha.

Netherlands, having substituted Femke Bol for Eveline Saalberg, improved its medal chances significantly. The difference in the two runners’ splits amounted to a 3.48-second gain, allowing the Netherlands to catch the U.S. for the silver medals. The Netherlands time of 3:09.90 was the No. 4 performance ever, with the U.S. running 3:10.16 for No. 5.

Leadoff Leg:

Elijah Godwin, running in lane 6, put the U.S. in good position from the start, immediately taking the lead and running a strong 44.71. At the handoff he had made up the stagger on the outer two lanes and had built a 1.01-second advantage over 2nd-place Poland, whose Karol Zalewski (45.72) was the only other leadoff runner to break 46. The Dominican’s Lidio Feliz was 4th in 46.31, with Liemarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands 7th in 46.50.

Second Leg:

Allyson Felix, who subbed in for Wadeline Jonathas, ran in the familiar position of second leg. Felix, making her global championships farewell appearance at this meet, quickly extended an 8m lead to 12 at the backstretch break line. By the end of the straight, her margin over 2nd place Dominican Marileidy Paulino was more than 15. Paulino had passed Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands and stormed the last 200, closing down the gap, and passing first after a 48.47 leg. Felix’s 50.15 left the U.S. a close 2nd, with Klaver’s 49.32 putting the Netherlands only 7m back.

Third Leg:

American Vernon Norwood inherited a deficit of less than a meter and fell in behind Alexander Ogando, stalking the Dominican around the curve and down the backstretch. In the middle of the last curve Norwood began his attack, swinging into lane 2 and drawing even with Ogando as they entered the straight. Norwood controlled the final 85m, his 44.40 opening 4m on Ogando, who ran 45.12. Tony van Diepen came in 3rd, but his 45.13 still left the Netherlands almost 15m behind the U.S.

Anchor Leg:

Kennedy Simon, who had run 2nd leg for the U.S. in the heats, took off in the lead and quickly extended her margin to almost 10 meters at the end of the curve, while Bol had cut the gap behind the Dominicans in half.

The end of the straight showed no changes in the gaps. But Dominican anchor Fiordaliza Cofil began closing on Simon, simultaneously drawing away from Bol. Simon began the homestraight with two strides over Cofil and Bol closing fast in 3rd.

Simon, tieing up, was caught by Cofil with 25m to go, the Dominicans pulling away to the line with the 3:09.82, Cofil having run 49.92. Simon was spent with 5m to go as Bol blasted past with a 48.95, Simon having run 50.90.

Feliz, who led off the winning team said, “We have been preparing for two races on the same day.”

Paulino, whose stunning 48.47 second leg put the Dominicans in the hunt, said “I have a lot of admiration for Allyson Felix. We ran at the Tokyo final.” It was a fitting comment, as in many ways this race was not just a run for medals but a good-bye for Felix.

Felix, who increased her World Championships record medal haul to 19, said farewell: “It was very special to be able to run in front of a home crowd for my last race. It was so cool. My daughter was in the stands. It was a night I will cherish.”


FINAL (July 15)

(temperature 82F/28C; humidity 41%)

1. Dominican Republic 3:09.82 NR (WL) (2W)

(Lidio Feliz 46.31, Marileidy Paulino 48.47, Alexander Ogando 45.12, Fiordaliza Cofil 49.92);

2. Netherlands 3:09.90 NR (4W)

(Liemarvin Bonevacia 46.50, Lieke Klaver 49.32, Tony van Diepen 45.13, Femke Bol 48.95);

3. United States 3:10.16 (AL) (5W, 2A)

(Elija Godwin 44.71, Allyson Felix 50.15, Vernon Norwood 44.40, Kennedy Simon 50.90);

4. Poland 3:12.31

(Karol Zalewski 45.72, Justyna Święty-Ersetic 51.22, Kajetan Duszyński 45.04, Natalia Kaczmarek 50.33);

5. Jamaica 3:12.71

(Demish Gaye 46.38, Tiffany James 50.24, Karayme Bartley 45.09, Stacey-Ann Williams 51.00);

6. Nigeria 3:16.21

(Samson Oghenewegba Nathaniel 46.44, Imeobong Nse Uko 52.17, Dubem Amene 45.66, Patience George 51.94);

7. Italy 3:16.45

(Lorenzo Benati 47.16, Ayomide Folorunso 51.10, Brayan Lopez 46.30, Alice Mangione 51.89);

8. Ireland 3:16.86

(Christopher O’Donnell 46.26, Sophie Becker 52.24, Jack Raftery 45.90, Sharlene Mawdsley 52.46).

HEATS (July 15)

I–1. United States 3:11.75 (WL, AL) (Godwin 44.89, Simon 50.64, Norwood 44.74, Wadeline Jonathas 51.48);

2. Netherlands 3:12.63 (Bonevacia 44.93, Klaver 49.46, van Diepen 45.81, Eveline Saalberg 52.43); 3. Poland 3:13.70 (Duszyński 46.33, Iga Baumgart-Witan 51.10, Zalewski 45.54, Święty-Ersetic 50.73); 4. Italy 3:13.89 (Benati 45.80, Folorunso 50.88, Lopez 45.68, Mangione 51.53); 5. Nigeria 3:14.59 (Nathaniel 46.12, George 50.72, Amene 45.79, Uko 51.96);

6. Great Britain 3:14.75 (Joe Brier 45.48, Zoey Clark 51.49, Alex Haydock-Wilson 47.09, Laviai Nielsen 50.69); 7. Belgium 3:16.01 (Alexander Doom 45.89, Camille Laus 51.47, Christian Iguacel 47.31, Helena Ponette 51.34); 8. Japan 3:17.31 (Yuki Joseph Nakajima 46.06, Nanako Matsumoto 52.36, Tatsuki Iwasaki 46.35, Mayu Kobayashi 52.54).

II–1. Dominican Republic 3:13.22 (Feliz 47.37, Cofil 50.62, Ogando 45.73, Paulino 49.50); 2. Ireland 3:13.88 (O’Donnell 46.33, Becker 52.38, Raftery 45.37, Rhasidat Adeleke 49.80); 3. Jamaica 3:13.95 (Gaye 46.22, Roneisha McGregor 51.90, Bartley 45.77, James 50.06);

4. Spain 3:16.14 (Iñaki Cañal 46.34, Sara Gallego 51.74, Óscar Husillos 45.96, Eva Santidrian 52.10); 5. Germany 3:16.80 (Patrick Schneider 46.29, Corinna Schwab 52.05, Marvin Schlegel 46.17, Alica Schmidt 52.29); 6. Brazil 3:18.19 (Douglas Hernandes 47.42, Tiffani Marinho 52.09, Vitor dos Santos 46.31, Tabata de Carvalho 52.37); 7. Bahamas 3:19.73 (Bradley Dormeus 47.94, Megan Moss 52.23, Alonzo Russell 45.80, Doneisha Anderson 53.76).

4×4 Times & Places At Handoffs

Leg 1: 1. USA 44.71; 2. Poland 45.72; 3. Ireland 46.26; 4. Dominican Republic 46.31; 5. Jamaica 46.38; 6. Nigeria 46.44; 7. Netherlands 46.50; 8. Italy 47.16

Leg 2: 1. Dominican 1:34.78; 2. USA 1:34.86; 3. Netherlands 1:35.82; 4. Jamaica 1:36.62; 5. Poland 1:36.94; 6. Italy 1:38.26; 7. Ireland 1:38.50; 8. Nigeria 1:38.61

Leg 3: 1. USA 2:19.26; 2. Dominican 2:19.90; 3. Netherlands 2:20.95; 4. Jamaica 2:21.74; 5. Poland 2:21.98; 6. Nigeria 2:24.27; 7. Ireland 2:24.40; 8. Italy 2:24.56

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