U.S. track and field athletes scooped up five gold medals and two silvers to claim the team title – with 54 points to Jamaica’s 27 – at this weekend’s IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.
During a weekend of competition that featured traditional Olympic relays as well as mixed-gender events, the U.S. showed off its strength on the track, coming up with one title in each of the 4x100-, 4x200- and 4x400-meter events.
Mikiah Brisco, Ashley Henderson, Dezerea Bryant and Aleia Hobbs set the pace in the women’s 4x100, finishing in 43.27 seconds, a mere 0.02 over Jamaica. Germany, the team that won this event in 2017, settled for bronze in 43.68.
The American men shone in the 4x200, where Christopher Belcher, Bryce Robinson, Vernon Norwood and Remontay McClain cruised to victory in 1 minute, 20.12 seconds over a surging South African team, which set a new African record in 1:20.42 seconds. Germany was third in 1:21.26 seconds, a new national record. This is the first time the U.S. has won this event.
Americans dominated the mixed events, including the 4x400, where the combined efforts of My’Lik Kerley, Joanna Atkins, Jasmine Blocker and Dontavius Wright gave Team USA another gold, this one coming in 3:16.43 seconds. The pacesetters throughout the race, the Americans later stood atop the victory stand above Canada (3:18:15 seconds) and Kenya (3:19.43 seconds).
The Americans scored additional golds in the mixed 2x2x400, where Ce’Aira Brown and Donavan Brazier finished in 3:36.92 seconds. The Americans finished 0.69 in front of Australia thanks to a pour-it-on finish from Brazier, who holds the U.S. record in the indoor 800-meter. Christina Clemons, Freddie Crittenden, Sharika Nelvis and former Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen, meanwhile, combined to win the mixed shuttle hurdles relay, clocking 54.96 seconds.
The Americans added a silver medal in the men’s 4x100, where a superstar-filled team composed of world relay champion Mike Rodgers, five-time Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin, 2012 Olympian Isiah Young and Youth Olympic gold medalist Noah Lyles was unable to hold off a surging effort from Brazil. The Americans finished in 38.07 seconds, 0.02 behind Brazil, while Great Britain clocked 38.15 for third. It marked the closest finish in IAAF World Relays history.
Jaide Stepter, Shakima Wimbley, Jessica Beard and 2016 Olympic relay champ Courtney Okolo provided for another silver in the women’s 4x400, clocking 3:27.65 seconds. Poland was the surprise victor in the event, with European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic running a terrific anchor leg for the Polish team.
Disqualifications in the men’s 4x400 (lane violation) and women's 4x200 (zone violation) kept the U.S. off the podium in those events.