Olympic Bonus: US Womens 4×100 Relay


by Qiana M

Tainted by a 26 year old drought and a world record surrounded by drug allegations, witnessing the 2012 U.S. Women’s 4×100 Relay team grace the Olympic world stage was like a breath of fresh air. The virtually invincible quartet composed of U.S. sprinters Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Tianna Madison shined the spotlight on a historic moment in Olympic achievements when they clocked in at 40.82 seconds, shattering the  41.37 world record engrained by Germany over two decade ago.  The young ladies in red, white and blue had not only lifted a dark cloud over the 4×100 relay event but renewed faith in a U.S. track worldwide.It wasn’t long ago that the better half of Team USA was forced out of competition and plummeted into international failure. It all began in the 2004 Athens Olympic games when U.S. Women’s 4×100 relay team failed to qualify due to a botched baton exchange. The curse unfortunately would follow the lady Olympians four years later at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games for a repeat performance costing them the ever elusive gold yet again. It seemed that both the American men and women 4×100 relay teams were doomed to come within inches of greatness only to be betrayed by a slight of the baton. Given the history and the cause for concern raised by the chief executive of USA Track & Field calling for a “comprehensive review” of the relay program in its entirety, there was a lingering apprehension hanging over the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Tianna Madison ran down the opening stretch and continued with a hand off to Felix who exploded down the track in an urgent fury. By the time Knight approached Jeter for the last leg of the race, the race was pretty much a done deal.  As Carmelita Jeter caught a glimpse of the clock in the midst of blazing the final 10 meters, she realized she was lightning years ahead of her competitors and one final step closer to redemption for Team USA.

“It was an absolutely unbelievable feeling,” Allyson Felix stated. “For so long . . . the records have been so out of reach. To look up and see we had a world record, it was just crazy.”

The realization at what the U.S. Women’s 4×100 Relay team had just accomplished was so profound that it took a minute to set in. Jeter screamed in elation as she rounded the final turn while confusion briefly clouded Felix. The reaction of the packed 80,000 capacity stadium on the other hand was instantly congratulatory and even the opposing Jamaican Women’s 4×100 Relay Team ,who took home the silver medal, were in awe of the Americans record breaking feat.

All their girls are in top shape this year. You can’t say they didn’t deserve it. They prepared for it and they came out here and they delivered,” Jamaican sprinter Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce said. “For us, it’s back to the drawing board.”

Eight years ago, the women excluded themselves from the final. Four years ago the women didn’t even grace the finals. This year, the U.S. Women’s 4×100 Relay Team not only made their presence known their presence was felt and the “botched handoff” was now a thing of a long suffering past now forgotten.


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