The world champion United States men's 4x100-meter relay team will not compete for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics after failing to advance as one of eight teams to the final out of Thursday's preliminary heats.
The U.S. team of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie finished sixth in the second of two heats in 38.10, falling two hundredths of a second short of the final.
Disappointment in the 4x100 relay is a familiar feeling for Team USA, despite hopes that a 2019 World Championships gold medal had finally exorcised the Americans' relay demons which have existed for well over a decade.
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The team had a first-round baton drop at the 2008 Olympics, a first-round illegal handoff at 2009 Worlds, a fall in the final at 2011 Worlds, a retroactive anti-doping medal strip at the 2012 Olympics, a mishandled pass in final at 2013 Worlds, an illegal handoff in final at 2015 Worlds and an illegal handoff in final at 2016 Olympics.
The foursome simply was not quick enough to the line, finishing behind Italy (featuring newly-crowned 100m gold medalist Marcell Jacobs), Germany and Ghana in addition to medal contenders China and Canada.
“We just didn’t get the job done today. That’s all,” said Kerley, who ran the second leg.
Outrage spread quickly, as it always does when this happens.
“The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay,” sprinting great Carl Lewis wrote on Twitter.
“The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, and it was clear that there was no leadership. It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU kids I saw.”
The U.S. men won’t win a medal they used to count on in what is turning out to be a rough Olympic track meet.
Shot putter Ryan Crouser’s gold at around the same time as the relay debacle was the first win for the men over the 7-day-old meet.