TrackLife International

Solid US Team Defeats Jamaica with Bolt on Anchor


NASSAU: The USA came to the Bahamas World Relays with a cracking race-ready sprint relay team and a deadly combination of Justin Gatlin on the backstretch and Tyson Gay on the third leg and defeated Jamaica, with Usain Bolt as anchorman, for the first time at a global competition since 2008, when Jamaica broke the world record at the Beijing Olympics.


A side shot of Ryan Bailey at the line with no Bolt in sight.

A US squad without Gay defeated Jamaica with Asafa Powell on anchor at the Penn Relays a week ago, and the Jamaicans came to the Bahamas for revenge. But in the end, Bolt had too much catching up to do, thanks to Gatlin who separated himself from Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole on the second leg, the way he did with Jamaica’s Michael Frater at the Penn Relays. In the end, the American quartet of Mike Rogers, Gatlin, Gay and Ryan Bailey streaked to a championship record and world leading 37.38secs from lane 5. Nesta Carter and Nickel Ashmeade completed the Jamaican line-up for the runner-up spot in 37.68, while Japan took the bronze in 38.20.

As the Jamaicans tried to hold their heads above disappoinment when the race ended, the US men could hardly contain themselves as Bailey, in particularly, jumped, stomped and hit his chest as if to say, “yes, finally!” In 2012 London Olympics 4x100m final, Bolt pulled away from Bailey to win the duel between the USA and Jamaica.

After Jamaica’s defeat in the Bahamas, a serious-looking Bolt said it wasn’t the first time he has come second and reiterated that for him it has always been about championships and not what he calls ‘one-off races’.

“The US came here today well prepared and ran a fast time, so we will have to go back to the drawing board. The team has a lot of work to do, but it makes things more exciting for the showdown in Beijing,” he said, referring to the World Championships this August.

When asked about their win over Jamaica, Gatlin explained that the focus was not about beating any particular country; it was more about working together and getting the baton around, because for a number of years the US has not been very successful at doing so.

In responding to questions directed to Gay about children who may feel betrayed by what he did and about recent comments by Bolt on his punishment for his drug offense, and whether he felt he had anything to prove, Gay said a win is always good and Bolt was entitled his opinion, which he respects.

“I’ve never deceived any kid anywhere in the world that they can’t do anything that they put their hard work into, so I would like to apologize to any kid who feels deceived,” he said.

He pointed out that his situation was understood by three organizations that understood he made a mistake going down the wrong path in believing some supplements were clean. He then thanked the Bahamas and all the Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, for welcoming him and understanding the situation.

“A victory always feels good, and it felt good getting the victory here,” Gay said. “Besides that, the past is the past. I ask for forgiveness, but right now I’m moving forward, I check everything thoroughly and we go from there.”

Both Gatlin and Bolt welcomed the long-standing rivalry between both countries on the track, which Bolt said will continue long after they have retired. Gatlin pointed out that “they [Jamaicans] have built a legacy and if it means we have to clash, then we clash.”

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