LONDON, England — If two gold medals were considered good, then a third in a new World Record is even better as sprint superstar Usain Bolt anchored Jamaica to victory in 36.84 seconds in the men’s 4x100m finals at Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London last night.
The team of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Bolt chopped two-tenths of a second off their year-old 37.04 seconds set in Daegu, South Korea at the IAAF World Championships, the same time the USA ran for second place and a second National Record of the Games after running 37.38 seconds 24 hours earlier. Trinidad and Tobago were awarded bronze after Canada were disqualified after crossing the line in third place.
The Jamaican men were lowering the World Record for the third time in the last four global championships and both Bolt and Frater have been involved in all of them.
All four men said in post-race interviews that having the USA team run at their best and complete the race made the win even more satisfying.
Bolt said both teams fed off each other. “Without the USA we would be nobody and without us the USA would be nobody; we challenge each other back and forth every season to become the best we can be as sprinters,” said Bolt.
In adding the relay gold medal to the ones he won in the men’s 100m and 200m earlier, Bolt achieved what has been coined a ‘double treble’ after repeating his three Olympic gold medals four years ago in Beijing, China.
Meanwhile, Jamaica won 12 medals, surpassing the 11 they won in Beijing as the women’s 4x400m team took the bronze earlier in 3 minutes 20.95 seconds behind the USA - 3:16.87 seconds and Russia - 3:20.23 seconds.
That tally — inclusive of four gold medals, four silver and four bronze — placed Jamaica third on the track and field table behind the USA, which won 29 medals and Russia, 18.
The men’s 4x100m brought to a spectacular close what has been an outstanding Olympics that saw three World Records, including the USA 4x100m women - 40.82 seconds a night earlier and Kenyan David Rudisha’s mindboggling 1 minute 40.91 seconds in the men’s 800m.
The temperatures had dropped to the mid-60 degrees earlier in the day and Bolt came out in gloves to keep his hands warm, but the heat was to come with a sizzling run that saw the raw speed of the Jamaicans outrun the slick batonpassing of the Americans.
While Bolt will get the plaudits, it was Blake who ran an absolutely brilliant third leg to cut into a slight deficit the Americans had built up on the first two legs to hand off to Bolt who, despite changing his baton hand, proved superior to Ryan Bailey as he flew past the big American to win.
On the first two legs, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater were just slightly behind Trell Kimmons and Justin Gatlin, respectively, but Blake’s run ensured Bolt would be in the perfect position to strike.
Bolt, who indicated he would be partying after the end of his Olympic campaign, said it was “great that we closed the show with a bang. I knew we could have done it as the guys came out ready and focused, so I knew it was in the making”.
Blake, who was winning his third Olympic medal and first gold after two silver medals in the sprints, told reporters, “We came out with a plan and executed it.”
The man called ‘The Beast’ said the American team had “no excuses this time” but commended them for a well-run race. “I am glad they got the stick around,” he said.
Carter said, “to lead off the team that ran (under 37.00 seconds) is amazing. It is something that I will look back on later”. He dedicated the victory to the Jamaica 50 celebrations.
Carter also singled out his injured MVP teammate Asafa Powell who was not able to run on the team, saying if he was able to compete the team might have run even faster.