RunBlogRun opines: The mens’ 4×100 meters was an epic race. It was Usain Bolt’s last 4x100m, there was an amazing GBR team and the US was looking good. Good, but GBR was a bit better in this one and that race made GBR team super heroes in London, especially after the women’s silver in the 4×100 meters.
Of course, Stuart Weir, not one to wave his flag without a bit of pride, had to write this piece and take us back to the World Cup in 1950 where US beat GBR in a soccer (their football) match. Now, after 67 years, Stuart Weir feels that GBR has gotten revenge.
Great Britain are the World Champions in men’s sprint relay. Let me repeat that! Great Britain are the World Champions in men’s sprint relay.
In 1950 in the soccer World Cup USA beat England 1-0. This is generally regarded as the biggest sporting disaster ever in the history of my country – and I can assure you there have been a few! The last time GB won the men’s 4 X 100 relay at a global championship was in 2004. USA was second and a certain Justin Gatlin picked up a silver that day as well.
On paper USA were clear favorites in 2017. Compare the PRs of the eight sprinters.
Mike Rogers 9.99
Justin Gatlin 9.74
Jaylen Bacon 10.00
Christian Coleman 9.82 39.41
CJ Ujah 9.96
Adam Gemili 0.97
Daniel Talbot 10.14
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake 9.99 40.06
Add to that the fact that USA had in Gatlin and Coleman the gold and silver medalists in the 100. GB’s only finalist in the 100, Reece Prescod, was not part of the relay squad.
How did GB achieve this upset? There are three main reasons:
1 GB is experiencing a golden generation. As Adam Gemili said after the final: “With this generation of sprinters, we see what we’re doing individually and we’ve never had this many sprinters going sub 10 or sub 20, making finals this consistently”.
2 British Athletics has targeted relay medals. Elite British athletes are effectively employed by British Athletics. There are 26 athletes who funded to be part of the four relay squads – that is in addition to athletes funded for individual events who also run relays.
3 Team spirit. The bond between the runners was clear from the comments made afterwards:
Danny Talbot: “We’ve worked so hard for this – we wanted the gold so much, we knew we could do it, and we have. Like Adam [Gemili] said, I’ve been involved for a while and 2012 didn’t just go away. Guys come in and guys come out and it’s just a massive team effort. We’ve always said we win as a team and we lose as a team, and tonight we won as a team, and it’s not just us four, it’s everyone who’s been involved with us.”
CJ Ujah: “There’s a freedom and fun in the group. We’re genuinely having fun.”
As I understand it, the membership of USA relay teams is not determined until after the trials. With GB, relay squads are chosen at end of a season for the next season enabling relay practices and team bonding to occur throughout the year.
Yesterday morning the medal target of six for team GB seemed a long way off. With 4 relay medals in two days the medal target was achieved. And did I mention that our 4 X 100 men’s team won gold, beating USA?