Jamaica Cruises to Victory in Sprint Relays After U.S. Men & Women Are Disqualified

August 23, 2009

With their chief rivals from the U.S. disqualified and knocked out of the competition, the 4 x 100m relays turned into a walk in the park for Jamaica, as both their men's and women's squads captured gold in dominant fashion yesterday at the Berlin World Championships.

The Jamaican men were led by their two stars - veteran Asafa Powell and the incomparable Usain Bolt. Bolt took the baton third and increased an already substantial Jamaican lead by running a great curve. Powell then brought home the gold with a solid anchor leg, as the Jamaicans finished in a time of 37.31 seconds.

Trinidad & Tobago placed a distant second with a time of 37.62 seconds.

The victory earned Bolt his third gold medal of these championships, and further cemented his status as the sport's undisputed top superstar. His 2-race streak of world record performances ended however, as the Jamaican team fell well short of their 37.10 mark set in Beijing.

Meanwhile, the Jamaican women put on a similar performance, as they handily won their relay in a time of 42.06 seconds. Instrumental in that victory was 100m gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser, as she ran an explosive second leg to give Jamaica a comfortable lead they would not relinquish.

For the U.S., the two disqualifications marked the second consecutive major meet in which disaster has struck their relay teams.

In the women's preliminary heat, the Americans blundered the exchange between legs 2 and 3, as Alexandria Anderson missed her initial pass to Muna Lee. When Anderson finally got the baton into Lee's hand, it appeared that their legs became somewhat entangled, causing Lee to injure her hamstring. Lee immediately pulled up in pain, ending the Americans' chances for gold.

The U.S. men, on the other hand, were eliminated thanks to some British gamesmanship.

The Americans won their preliminary heat, seemingly executing their passes well. However, the British team protested on the grounds that the U.S. had made its final baton pass too early. Meet officials agreed and the U.S. was disqualified.

The U.S. delegation filed an immediate appeal, but that appeal was denied. However, the video evidence taken from two different camera angles seemed inconclusive, and did not appear to verify the Brits' assertions.

In other words, the replays show U.S. anchor Doc Patton reaching back for the baton before he enters the passing zone, but they do not pinpoint precisely when his hand touched the baton. From the video, it seems just as likely that the U.S. indeed made a legal pass.

Ironically, the British team already had qualified for the final, finishing second in the heat to the U.S. So, their only apparent incentive for filing the protest was to eliminate one of the top two teams from the final. In hindsight, the tactic proved effective, as the Brits won a bronze medal that they probably would not have earned had the U.S. been allowed to compete.

Nevertheless, the move was contrary to the competitive spirit that has been on display throughout these championships.

One cannot watch this competition, in this stadium, without thinking about Jesse Owens and his demolition of the Aryan superman myth. Among the many things that Owens proved back in 1936 was the adage that talk is cheap. Owens did his talking on the track, and let the track dictate who in fact was the world's greatest.

In following that spirit, the British should have let their racing do the talking in the final, rather than aspiring to eliminate a more talented competitor on a technicality which put the British at no disadvantage in their heat. For lack of a better word, it was a punk move - the track equivalent of snitching so as to save one's own skin.

Other Events and Performances

1. In an exciting Women's 5000m, Ethiopian star Meseret Defar again faltered in the final 100 meters, as Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot and Sylvia Kibet displayed strong finishing kicks to earn gold and silver, respectively. Cheruiyot's finished in a time of 14:57.97, while Defar took bronze in 14:58.41.

Defar has battled the flu at these championships, and her performance has been affected as a result. In both the 5000m and the 10,000m, Defar has found herself in good position entering the final 100m, only to be overtaken by her competitors as she ran out of energy.

2. American Dwight Phillips did his best Jesse Owens impersonation by easily winning the men's long jump with a leap of 28 feet, 1/4 inch. No other competitor reached the 28-foot mark. Owens' granddaughter, Marlene Dortch, presented Phillips with his gold medal.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

1 comment:

  1. the brits acted like straight punks and were lucky to get their cheap bronze.

    looking forward to the next tyson gay battle with bolt. hopefully in the 200 this time.


We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...