This is the Mens’ 4x400m relay story, by Matt Wisner. The Men’s 4x400m relay was a proper ending for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA Men’s 4×400 Wins Gold To Cap Off Track Events in Tokyo
By Matt Wisner
TOKYO — The Team USA men’s 4×400-meter relay team dominated the field on Saturday night to secure victory in the final track event of the Tokyo Olympics.
The men finished in a time of 2:55.70, just three-tenths of a second shy of the Olympic Record which was set by the Americans in 2008 in Beijing.
Michael Cherry led off for the Americans with a 44.2-second split–toward the front but not quite enough to hand off in the lead. Cherry matched his time from the open 400 final; in that race, he placed fourth in 44.2, just one place off of the podium.
While the American women led their race from start to finish on the way to their victory, the American men didn’t take the lead until the end of the second leg. Michael Norman stormed past the teams from Trinidad and Tobago and Botswana to establish the lead on his way to a 44.0 split.
Bryce Deadmon held onto the Americans’ lead over the third leg with a 44.01 split, but it was ultimately Rai Benjamin, the silver medalist from the 400-meter hurdles earlier in the meet, who posted the fastest split of the relay to anchor the U.S. to victory: He ran a blistering 43.40.
The Netherlands finished second in 2:57.18. And Botswana finished third in 2:57.27.
This gold medal was only the second one earned by the American Track and Field team in Tokyo. Ryan Crouser also won gold in the shot put. Two gold medals is the fewest an American team has ever won at the Olympic Games.
The 4×400 ushered in a sense of redemption for the American men, though. “It was a whole lot of second places,” Benjamin told the media. “Guys who were supposed to win got second. And guys who were supposed to medal didn’t medal.”
But this team was something different. Together they achieved something that none of them could on their own.
“You’ve got to put your own selfish interests to the side and just go out there and really run for others,” Normal told the media. “I’m just glad that we were able to accomplish this goal.”
All four men are young. Cherry is the oldest at 26, but the other three are 23 and 24. “They don’t understand that we’re in a transition period,” Benjamin told the media, explaining the youth of Team USA. “I’m just happy that we put the right personnel out there and we were able to come out with a gold medal.”
The next chance to win a relay race at a major championship will be next year at the World Championships, which, for the first time in history, will be on U.S. soil. Oregon22 will take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, and when the time comes, these four young men will be one year more experienced, ready to take on the world.