DESPITE JAMAICA’S drafting in of its 100 and 200 winners Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson (as well as Elaine Thompson-Herah), a well-drilled and inspired U.S. quartet managed to upset the odds to win in 41.14, the second-fastest time in the history of the WC and No. 5 on the all-time world list.
Drawn in lane 3 with Jamaica out in 5, Melissa Jefferson ran a superb first bend to hand over just in front of Jamaica’s Kemba Nelson — who had run the anchor leg in the heats — and Great Britain’s Asha Philip out in lane 6.
Abby Steiner was the only change for the U.S. coming in, replacing Aleia Hobbs. She was able to hold off the double-double Olympic sprint champion Thompson-Herah — who had to stretch to get the baton from Nelson — with a flying stint down the back straight. Steiner added to the U.S. advantage with the lead some 3m at the halfway point.
Imani Lansiquot also ran a terrific leg to close slightly on the Jamaicans and keep Great Britain in medal contention comfortably clear of the rest of the field.
As expected, SAFP ran a quick second curve but the decrease in deficit was minimal as Jenna Prandini rose to the occasion.
Behind the U.S. and Jamaica, 200 bronze medalist Dina Asher-Smith looked like she was going to bring the British up into the battle for the gold but suffered what she later described as a “twinge in my left leg” 25m from the line and hobbled into the changeover zone, ending her nation’s medal hopes.
Almost unnoticed on the outside of the main protagonists in this mini-drama, Gina Lückenkemper in lane 7 ran an outstanding bend that moved the well-rehearsed German team up two places into 3rd.
TeeTee Terry held a slight advantage over Shericka Jackson at the final handover and the U.S. won hands-down on baton-passing technique. But would it be enough to hold off the Jamaican who had produced one of the most stunning performances of the championships when winning the 200 in 21.45?
As it happened, it was sufficient, but only just — with Terry aided by a delirious Hayward Field crowd whose noise verged on the deafening as the pair battled for the line.
Terry prevailed for gold, crossing the line in 41.14 with Jackson running out of track as she closed quickly on the American over the final 30 meters to secure Jamaica the silver in 41.18, the fastest ever non-winning time.
A distant 3rd, Germany finished in 42.03 with Nigeria 4th in an African Record 42.22.
U.S. leadoff runner Jefferson reflected, “We’re very happy; I don’t even have the words to describe how happy we are. It just feels great to do what we did on U.S. soil and be able to walk away with the gold medal. We knew we had to have the chemistry and move the baton through the exchanges.
“It was not expected of us today and I am glad we pulled it through. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and I knew we would show the world what we are capable of.”
“The race was electrifying,” said Terry after delivering the surprise victory. “You heard the stadium. The stadium went crazy. I really noticed it on my leg, even before the race, there were just so many fans rooting for us.”
WOMEN’S 4×1 RESULTS
FINAL (July 23)
(temperature 77F/25C; humidity 43%)
1. United States 41.14 (WL, AL) (5 W, 3 A)
(Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner, Jenna Prandini, TeeTee Terry);
2. Jamaica 41.18 (6 W)
(Kemba Nelson, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson);
3. Germany 42.03
(Tatjana Pinto, Alexandra Burghardt, Gina Lückenkemper, Rebekka Haase);
4. Nigeria 42.22 NR
(Joy Udo-Gabriel, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha);
5. Spain 42.58 NR
(Sonia Molina, Jael Bestue, Paula Sevilla, Maria Isabel Pérez);
6. Great Britain 42.75
(Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Dina Asher-Smith, Daryll Neita);
7. Switzerland 42.81
(Géraldine Frey, Mujinga Kambundji, Salomé Kora, Ajla Del Ponte);
8. Italy 42.92
(Zaynab Dosso, Dalia Kaddari, Anna Bongiorni, Vittoria Fontana).
(best-ever mark-for-place: 2, 8)
(lanes: 1. Switzerland; 2. Italy; 3. United States; 4. Spain; 5. Jamaica; 6. Great Britain; 7. Germany; 8. Nigeria)
(reaction times: 0.134 Great Britain, 0.144 Germany, Switzerland & Italy, 0.149 Nigeria, 0.171 United States, 0.177 Jamaica, 0.189 Spain)
HEATS (July 22)
I–1. Great Britain 41.99 (WL) (Philip, Lansiquot, Ashleigh Nelson, Neita);
2. Jamaica 42.37 (Briana Williams, Natalliah Whyte, Remona Burchell, Nelson); 3. Germany 42.44;
4. China 42.93 (He Li, Manqi Ge, Yongli Wei, Xiaojing Liang); 5. Canada 43.09 (Crystal Emmanuel, Khamica Bingham, Jacqueline Madogo, Leya Buchanan); 6. Poland 43.19 (Magdalena Stefanowicz, Martyna Kotwiła, Marika Popowicz-Drapala, Ewa Swoboda); 7. Japan 43.33 NR (Masumi Aoki, Arisa Kimishima, Mei Kodama, Midori Mikase); 8. Ireland 44.48 (Joan Healy, Adeyemi Talabi, Lauren Roy, Sarah Leahy).
II–1. United States 41.56 (WL, AL) (=8 A) (Melissa Jefferson, Aleia Hobbs, Jenna Prandini, TeeTee Terry);
2. Spain 42.61 NR; 3. Nigeria 42.68; 4. Italy 42.71 NR; 5. Switzerland 42.73 (Géraldine Frey, Sarah Atcho, Salomé Kora, Ajla Del Ponte);
6. Netherlands 43.46 (Andrea Bouma, Naomi Sedney, Minke Bisschops, Zoë Sedney); 7. Denmark 43.46 NR (Mette Graversgaard, Mathilde Kramer, Astrid Glenner-Frandsen, Ida Kathrine Karstoft); 8. Ecuador 44.17 (Yuliana Angúlo, Gabriela Anahí Suárez, Nicole Caicedo, Nicole Jazmín Chalá). ◻︎