The heat is on between Jamaican and U.S. team at menís 4x100m finals
The Jamaican team packs a lot of star power with both Usain Bolt, who earned gold at Olympics’ 200m and 100m finals, as well as Yohan Blake who finished behind his teammate with a silver medal at the two events. But only Yohan Blake featured on track in the third leg of the 4x100m relay.
The U.S. team opted for Justin Gatlin at the anchor leg, in what turned out to be a sweet Olympics moment for the sprinter who won the bronze medal at the 100m finals. The U.S. team won the second heats of 4x100m with a time of 37.38, breaking a 20-year-old national record.
"This is actually the first time I've ever run anchor,” expressed Justin Gatlin. "To be the first time running anchor and have an American record is special to me."
The defending champions, Jamaica dominated the first heat of the 4x100m semifinals clocking in at 37.39 seconds. Jamaica posted the fourth-fastest time in Olympics history and the quickest national record held by any team this year; that was before the U.S. team stepped on track.
The U.S. team accomplished the fastest time of the semifinals, one-hundredth of a second ahead of the Jamaican team to earn the first qualifying spot to the finals. Sprinters Jeff Demps, Justin Galtin, Darvis Patton and Trell Kimmons represented the U.S. at the second heat.
The Great Britain was disqualified moments after the race, and lost their second spot, for illegal exchange of baton out-of-bounds from the assigned area.
However, Canada is heading into the 4x100m finals after clinching one of the top qualifying spots following a second position in their heat behind the Jamaican team. Japan, France, Australia, Trinidad, Tobago and Netherlands will also be among the eight teams appearing at the 4x100m finals.
But the formation of the U.S. and Jamaican teams will look far different at the 4x100m finals on Saturday with two changes for the Americans and one for the latter. The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt will be on the Jamaican’s the 4x100m sprint team at the finals. The U.S. team will replace with 100m finalist Ryan Bailey and provide Tyson Gay who landed the fourth at the race a chanece of redemption after he was robbed of a medal.
The Jamaican and U.S. sprint team’s rivalry prevailed earlier on the day at the women’s 4x400m relays. The U.S. team led the semifinals to the 4x400m with a time of 3:22.09 while Jamaica finished fourth with 3:25.13. Russia, France, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Great Britain and Ukraine also qualified for the 4x400m finals on Saturday.
Defending champion, the U.S. team, which has won gold at the event for four-consecutive Olympics will be making a change by adding 400m gold-medalist Sanya Richards-Ross to the squad.