Make it four straight failures by the USA in the men’s 4×100 Olympic relay.
This time, the Americans failed to reach the final of the event as they finished sixth in their semifinal race. The poor finish Thursday morning (Tokyo time) was sealed when Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker botched the handoff before the third leg. Anchor Cravon Gillespie wasn’t fast enough to overcome the error.
TOKYO OLYMPICS: Track and field results
The last U.S. gold in the event was in 2000. The last official medal in the event, a silver, came in 2004. There was a dropped baton in 2008, a doping disqualification in 2012 and a handoff-related DQ in 2016.
No less an authority than Carl Lewis, a two-time Olympic champion in the event, blasted the American squad for what he saw as a lack of organization.
The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay. 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 .
— Carl Lewis (@Carl_Lewis) August 5, 2021
Kerley and Baker seemed to hint at dysfunction themselves when they met with reporters in the mixed zone after the race.
Two members of the U.S. 4×100 team spoke with the media in the mixed zone. Asked how much practice they had for this event, as a group, coming into today.
Fred Kerley: “Don’t know.”
Ronnie Baker: “Not much.”
— Tom Schad (@Tom_Schad) August 5, 2021
Kerley won silver in the 100-meter final on Sunday. Canada’s Andre de Grasse won bronze in that race. On Thursday, de Grasse anchored the Canadians’ second-place run in their semi, which put them in the final.