Sunday, 2 September 2007
Only disaster would have stopped the United States winning the last title on offer at these championships. It was just a matter of how many superlatives they could accrue along the way.
As the individual 400m gold medallist Jeremy Wariner put it: “We had the top three for the quarter, so we were dominating the relay. A world record? Well, we cannot do both.
“The first goal was to win the relay, win the gold medal and a second goal would have been the world record. We can do that another time."
As Wariner took the baton for the final grandstand lap, the flashbulbs popped and he responded with a notional world record 43.08 from a rolling start.
He also stopped the clock at 2:55.56, the third fastest time ever and the night was complete. As they did the night before in the short relay, the victorious American women waited to celebrate together.
“It is the first time we have run together,” said Wariner. “The other guys put it right before me and I just got it home strong.''
Silver, almost four seconds back were the Bahamas followed by Poland for yet another surprise bronze after third places in both men’s and women’s 400m hurdles.
"I got the baton quite a little behind, maybe fourth or fifth,” said Bahamas’ anchor Chris Brown. “The gap opened by the USA was bigger than I expected. Then I had to do what I had to do. It's another medal to add to our collection. We've shown the others that they will need to work hard if they want to get us off the podium.''
"We calculated that USA, Jamaica and Bahamas are the favourites,” said Poland’s lead-off and 400m hurdles bronze medallist Marek Plawgo.
“But we believed in luck and our team spirit. It is a great tradition in the relay in our country. We have something special in us for this race."
Individual silver medallist LaShawn Merritt led off for the USA, handing over to former Olympic hurdles gold Angelo Taylor. The juggernaut was on its way.
Taking the baton in third place, Jamaica’s Ricardo Chambers immediately overtook Michael Mathieu of the Bahamas and the ensuing Caribbean battle was to last for the next three laps with Poland also entering the fray.
By the next handover, Chambers had moved back into silver with Poland’s Daniel Dobrowski forcing his way past Mathieu. If it had not been for the overwhelming superiority of the Americans, the battle for the minor medals would have been epic.
In the lead, Darold Williamson worked on increasing the USA’s lead with Olympian detachment, but behind him the order was constantly changing.
Down the back straight, Poland’s Marcin Marciniszyn had shot past Jamaica’s Leyford Green who immediately came back at him around the top bend, quickly followed by the Bahamas’ Andrae Williams. At this stage Poland were out of the medals.
While Wariner was forging his glory leg, the Brown forced his way past Jamaica’s Sanjay Ayre to move into a definitive silver.
Seeing his chance, as Ayre began to falter, Kacper Koslowski gave it his all in the final 80m to snatch bronze to the delirium of his team-mates.
Osaka 2007 News Team/mb
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