US men end gold drought with 4x400m relay triumph

(From left) Michael Norman, Michael Cherry, Rai Benjamin and Bryce Deadmon won the race in a season’s best 2:55.70s. (AP pic)

TOKYO: The US men’s team won their first gold in athletics at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics today, clinching the 4x400m relay by a massive margin.

This was the final chance for the American men to avoid the ignominy of not winning a gold on the track for the first time in the Games’ 125-year history – barring their boycott year in 1980 – and they left it to the very last event.

The American team of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin took the lead early and surged ahead of their challengers to take victory in a season’s best 2:55.70s.

Holland took the silver medal in a national record time of 2:57.18s and Botswana claimed the bronze.

Ryan Crouser who retained his title in the men’s shot put on Thursday, breaking his own Olympic record three times in the final, was the only gold medallist for the Americans in track and field until today’s race.

The performance by the US men’s track team drew criticism from some of the big names of American athletics, including Carl Lewis, the nine-time Olympic gold medallist, who described some of the performances as “a total embarrassment”.

The win today, a season’s best performance, helped to end the barren run ahead of the Dutch and Botswana who produced an African record to grab bronze.

Ramsey Angela of Holland came storming through in the last stretch and, with 100m remaining, pushed himself all the way and pipped Botswana to the silver medal in a national record performance.

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