Rai Benjamin, Michael Cherry, Michael Norman and Bryce Deadmon pose at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021 in Tokyo.
TOKYO — Until tonight, the U.S. men had yet to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the track.
Not in the 100-meter dash. Not in the 200, 400, 800, all the way up to the 10,000. And the U.S. men’s 4x100 relay had been disqualified. The American men had won a field event — shot put. But all the runners had come up short of gold.
Then Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon, and Rai Benjamin took to the track for the very last event: the men’s 4x400 relay. They put Olympic disappointment behind them and won the men’s 4x400 relay in 2:55.70.
It continued a streak of four Olympic wins for the U.S. men’s 4x400 relay — a streak that started in 2004. It was the 18th gold and 21st medal of any color won by the USA in the event.
The Netherlands passed Botswana at the line for silver in 2:57.18, and Botswana hung on for bronze (2:57.27).
“It was great,” said Benjamin, the only one of the four to win an individual medal in track this week (silver in 400-meter hurdles). “It's been a long championship, very emotional for all of us here.”
The men heard “the banter from back home, the part about them not winning."
“They're just used to seeing the USA going out and winning gold,” said Benjamin. “But they don't understand that we're in a transition period. I'm just happy that we put the right personnel out there and we were able to come out with a gold medal.”