Team USA Dream Team Wins Gold in Women's 4x400; Allyson Felix Wins 11th Olympic Medal, By Matt Wisner

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The Women's 4x400m relay was one of the finest competitions of the Tokyo Olympics. Matt Wisner wrote this piece, as he has been writing for @runblogrun almost each and every day.

IMG_2402.jpgWomen's 4x400m, Tokyo Olympic Stadium, photo by K. Camara

Team USA Dream Team Wins Gold in Women's 4x400; Allyson Felix Wins 11th Olympic Medal

8/7/2021

By Matt Wisner

TOKYO ​​-- Team USA won the final two gold medals of the Olympic track meet on Saturday, one of which came from the women's 4x400-meter relay team. The Team USA women broke away from the rest of the field in the first leg and led wire-to-wire to secure victory.

The women assembled a dream team of Olympic gold medalists. Sydney McLaughlin ran the leadoff leg and handed the baton off in first place with a 50.20-second split.

Allyson Felix then increased Team USA's lead with a 49.30 split. In the second half of the race, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu both split under 49 seconds to run away with gold, splitting 48.94 and 48.32 respectively.

Together, the women ran a time of 3:16.85, less than 2 seconds slower than the World Record performance by the Soviet Union, which was set during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Before this race, the four American women had won a combined 10 Olympic gold medals.

The members of the American 4x400 relay team are normally selected by the 400-meter results from the U.S. Olympic Trials. But only Felix competed in the 400 at the Trials. The other seven women who competed in the 400 final at the Trials came to Tokyo as members of the relay pool but ultimately didn't compete in the most coveted relay event.

Instead, Team USA opted to create a dream team, using athletes who'd found success earlier in the meet in other events.

McLaughlin and Muhammad earned gold and silver medals respectively in the 400-meter hurdles earlier in the meet, both running faster than the previous World Record. Mu won the 800-meters in Tokyo in a new American Record of 1:55.21.

Felix was also successful earlier in the meet; she earned a bronze medal in the open 400, running 49.46--the second-fastest time of her career that has spanned five separate iterations of the Olympic Games.

This 4x400 gold was Felix's seventh Olympic gold and 11th total medal, which officially makes her the most decorated U.S. Track and Field Olympian of all time.

"It was really cool to come together, to get to close out the Olympic Games - and, for me, my Olympic career - in this way," Felix told the media.

Poland earned the silver medal by running a time of 3:20.53. And Jamaica finished third in 3:21.24

Assembling this dream team may have been a wise decision for Team USA in terms of cultivating attention for the sport. Often, relay teams are comprised of members who aren't recognizable to the fans watching at home. But these four women maybe Team USA's most popular and identifiable members. And four women who are extraordinary on their own coming together to achieve something extraordinary together is certainly compelling to outsiders.

This 4x400 was the USA's second-fastest time ever. Perhaps dream teams like this one should be assembled more often.

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