The US women have pulled off a shock upset over Jamaica in the 4×100 metres relay at the world championships in Eugene, while the men finished second after a sloppy baton exchange that has become a ritual for that star-crossed team.
Andre DeGrasse beat Marvin Bracy to the line by 0.07 seconds to lift Canada to the victory in Saturday’s men’s race in 37.48 seconds.
Bracy fell behind in the anchor leg after twice reaching back and whiffing on the exchange from Elijah Hall, who went tumbling to the ground after he finally let go of the stick.
The US women, a clear underdog to a Jamaican team that had won all but one of the six sprint medals at this meet, scored the upset when Twanisha Terry held off 200 metres gold medallist Shericka Jackson for a 0.04-second victory.
The American team, which also included Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner and Jenna Prandini, finished in 41.14 seconds with Germany (42.03) claiming bronze.
“This is the most fun race of my life,” Steiner said.
“I never scream that loud during a race. Hayward magic is a real thing.”
Jamaica’s fate might have been sealed on a messy first pass between Kemba Nelson and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
With Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce running the third leg, Jamaica came into this with all three members of the team that swept the 100 metres last weekend and both members of the one-two finish in the 200 metres.
The US had taken all six medals in the men’s 100 metres and 200 metres.
The relays proved, yet again, that pure speed is not all that matters in these races.
Though the US men will walk away with a medal this time – they’d been shut out in six of the past 13 worlds and three of the past four Olympics – this can’t be framed as anything but an unsatisfactory result.
DeGrasse, the Olympic champion at 200 metres, could barely walk up his stairs four weeks ago while overcoming COVID-19.
He won the gold medal with a team that also included Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake and Brendon Rodney.
“We did it with the same guys I have been growing up together with in the sport,” said Rodney, who helped Canada collect bronze in Rio and silver in Tokyo.
“No words can really explain.”
Great Britain took bronze in 37.83.
Other winners on Day 9 included Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia in the women’s 5000 metres, Anderson Peters of Grenada in men’s javelin, and Pedro Pichardo of Portugal, who backed up his Olympic title with a world title in men’s triple jump.