EUGENE, Ore. — For the U.S. women’s relay team, it was a shock.
For men — the same.
The women shocked Jamaica in the 4×100 relay at the world championships on Saturday, while the favored men finished second after a thin baton exchange in what has been a ritual since before anyone on this team was born.
In the men’s race, Andre DeGrasse paced Canada to victory in 37.48 seconds, beating Marvin Bracey by .07 seconds.
Bracey fell behind in the anchor leg after being scrambled back twice by Elijah Hall’s exchange.
“We lost the bet for not being clean,” Bracey had posted on Twitter, before he went through the interview segment. “No excuses. We allow you all to apologize.”
American women feel nothing but love. A clear underdog to Jamaica, which won all but one of the six sprint medals in the meet, the U.S. was upset as Dwanisha Terry held off 200 gold medalist Sherika Jackson for a .04-second win.
He celebrated by doing his “dirt bike dance” and hopping on one leg, revving the handlebars of his pretend superfast bike.
“I felt like the crowd was going crazy,” Terry said. “It was very electrifying.”
The American team of Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner and Jenna Brandini finished in 41.14.
Jamaica’s Shelley-Anne Fraser-Pryce kept her streak alive. He has won gold or silver in every world relay he has competed in since 2007. No one in Jamaica is thinking about second place this year.
Jamaica’s lineup includes three sprinters from last weekend’s 100-meter sweep and two members of a 1-2 finish in the 200. A messy first pass between Kemba Nelson and Elaine Thompson-Hera may have sealed its fate.
“I don’t think Jamaica has any medals,” Fraser-Pryce said. “We’ve got to get out there and we’ve got to work like everybody else.”
The US also captured six medals in the men’s 100 and 200.
The relays proved once again that pure speed does not matter in these races.
“You can get a fast runner, but if there’s no chemistry and no confidence, and if the baton isn’t moving through the transfer, you’re not going to build speed at that time,” Terry explained.
Even if the U.S. men walk away with a medal this time — they’ve been eliminated in six of the last 13 Worlds and three of the last four Olympics — it could make for anything but an unsatisfying finish.
“You can walk out of here with nothing,” Bracy said. “But we have to clean it up. There’s a lot of work to be done to continue to be good,” he said.
De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champion, was unable to climb his stairs four weeks ago while recovering from Covid-19. He did not win the 100m heats last weekend and was out of the 200 altogether.
Aaron Brown, who finished seventh in the 200 and eighth in the 100, won gold with a team that included Jerome Blake, who did not make the finals in either, and Brendan Rodney, who was in Canada’s relay pool. .
“When I got the baton, I was like, ‘OK, I’m neck and neck with America, now I’ve got to do what I can do,'” DeGrasse said. “It was great to screw it up. A feast for them.”
The U.S. rolled out the same lineup it did the day before prelims, leaving medalists and speed — Trayvon Brommel, Erion Knighton, Kenny Bednarek and the injured Fred Kerley — on the bench.
Hall stayed. His resume: Finished fifth in the 100 at nationals this year, but also won the NCAA relay title in 2018 at the University of Houston, where the legend, Carl Lewis, has been a constant critic of the American relay process. Many years of practice.
“We tried to put a group together to have some kind of continuity and get the stick,” Bracy said. “We did a good job of that yesterday. We came out today and tried to do the same thing. It just didn’t go our way…and we took the ‘L.”’
An idea for the men: Take a page from women’s relay coach Michelle Louise Freeman’s book.
His team had an eighth-place finisher in the 100 (Jefferson), a fifth-place finisher in the 200 (Steiner) and two (Brandini and Terry) who did not make it out of the semifinals.
The early going between Jefferson and Steiner was surprisingly uneventful, but neither was the Jamaican’s pass.
Terry took the stick for the anchor leg with a four-step lead over Jackson, who ran the second-fastest time in the 200 (21.45) two nights earlier.
The Jamaican was closed, and then some, but when Terry tipped the line, he secured America’s first win in the race since 2017, when Fraser-Pryce pulled out after having her baby.
The relay medals gave the U.S. team 28, three shy of the world championship record. It will favor medals in the men’s and women’s 4×400 and women’s 800 Olympic champion Athing Mu.
Other winners on Saturday included Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir of Kenya in the men’s 800, Gutaf Seke of Ethiopia in the women’s 5000, Anderson Peters of Grenada in the men’s javelin and Pedro Picardo of Portugal, who backed up his Olympic title with the men’s world title. to jump
The evening also featured a (final?) curtain raiser for Allyson Felix, who was drawn back to the world stage to run the women’s 4×400 race debut.
It was Felix’s 20th World Championship medal and his 14th gold after Sunday’s final. The U.S. has won the 4×400 in seven of the last nine worlds.
“Lifelong social media lover. Falls down a lot. Creator. Devoted food aficionado. Explorer. Typical troublemaker.”