Athletics: United States and Jamaica Lead the Way at the World Relay Championships

Brazil, Jamaica and the United States were able to qualify in all four relay events showing that Pan American countries are still by far the strongest continent in sprint events as they were able to win over half the available quotas.

The World Relay Championships was created in 2014 to provide more international competition for relay events along with developing the non-Olympic relays. The 2015 edition was held in Nassau, Bahamas from May 2nd 2015 to May 3rd 2015. The top 8 relay teams in each event in the finals qualified to the Olympics.

As expected the highlight of the men’s 4x100m relay was between Jamaica and the United States. Both teams brought several of their top runners with Nesta Carter, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nickel Ashmeade and Usain Bolt representing Jamaica and Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey representing the United States. In the end it was the United States that edged Jamaica for gold setting a new Championship Record with a time of 37.38. In a bit of an upset that was overshadowed by the US/Jamaica affair Japan took the bronze medal. The other nations that placed in the top 8 were Brazil, France, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago and Germany.

In the women’s 4x400m relay the United States set another Championship Record as the team of Phyllis Francis, Natasha Hastings, Sanya Richards-Ross and Francena McCorory finished over Jamaica with a time of 3:19.39. The bronze medal was a close affair as both France and Great Britain remained close at the end, but it was Great Britain whom won the final sprint, 0.30 seconds ahead with a time of 3:26.38. The other nations that placed in the top 8 were Poland, Canada, Australia and Brazil.

Jamaica was finally able to defeat the United States in the women’s 4x100m relay as the team of Simone Facey, Kerron Stewart, Schillonie Calvert and Veronica Campbell-Brown were able to outmatch their United States counter-part with a time of 42.14. The race for third place was quite exciting to watch as five teams raced for the line. In the end it was Great Britain again who finished third with a minuscule 0.01 second lead over Canada. In fact third to seventh place all finished 0.15 seconds apart. The other nations that placed in the top 8 were Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Nigeria and Switzerland.

After a disappointing event for the host nation where the other three relays failed to qualify to the Olympics the crowd was given something to cheer about as 3/4 of their 2012 Olympic gold medal team stepped up to do battle in the men’s 4x400m final. The team of Ramon Miller, Michael Mathieu, Steven Gardiner and Chris Brown had a very impressive race, but they too were disappointed as the United States was able to take a third gold medal among the Olympic events with a time of 2:58.43. Belgium along with three members of the Borlee family finished with the bronze medal. The other nations that placed in the top 8 were Jamaica, Brazil, Great Britain, Trinidad and Tobago and Botswana.

Overall most of the usual suspects qualified with the biggest surprise being Botswana in the men’s 4x400m. Host nation Brazil will be pleased that they have qualified in all four events. Unsurprisingly the United States and Jamaica are still the teams to beat. For the remaining 8 spots in each event all other nations will have their 2 best times from May 1st 2015 to July 12th 2016 added together and the 8 fastest times will then qualify a team.

Quotas by Nation

  • Brazil – 4
  • Jamaica – 4
  • United States – 4
  • Great Britain – 3
  • Trinidad and Tobago – 3
  • Canada – 2
  • France – 2
  • Australia – 1
  • Bahamas – 1
  • Belgium – 1
  • Botswana – 1
  • Germany – 1
  • Japan – 1
  • Nigeria – 1
  • Poland – 1
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis – 1
  • Switzerland – 1