RIO 2016

‘Nightmare’ for United States after being denied relay bronze

A bronze medal was not what the United States men’s 4×100 metre relay team had in mind on Friday, but they were initially happy to take it considering Jamaica’s dominance during the Usain Bolt era.

Partway through their lap of honour, though, the flag-draped Americans received unexpected bad news. They had been disqualified, leaving them off the podium while Canada moved up to take bronze.

No official reason for the DQ was immediately announced, but it appeared Justin Gatlin received the baton from Mike Rodgers out of the zone on the first pass.

“It was the twilight zone. It was a nightmare,” Gatlin said. “You work so hard with your team-mates, guys you compete against almost all year long. All that hard work just crumbles.”

USA Track and Field subsequently announced it had appealed the disqualification.

First-time Olympian Trayvon Bromell brought the US home third behind Bolt-propelled Jamaica and surprising silver medallist Japan in a time of 37.62 seconds.

Bromell, who has been bothered by an Achilles problem in recent days, fell to the track and eventually was helped off in a wheelchair, missing out on the muted celebration begun by veteran team-mates Gatlin, Rodgers and Tyson Gay.

That did not last long.

“Hell, we already did the victory lap and then when we talked to TV, they told us,” Gay said.

“They said Justin got the stick before the zone. He’s saying he didn’t.”

The DQ was an unpleasant reminder of past mis-steps. USA finished second behind Jamaica in London but had to give back its silver medals last year thanks to retroactive punishment for a positive doping test by Gay in 2013.

And the Americans did not even make the final in 2008 after Gay dropped the baton during their semi-final heat.

They will have four more years to try to find a winning formula before the Tokyo Games. The good news for the US: Bolt will not be there.

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