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A Brief History of Recent USA Men's 4x100 Disqualification

A Brief History of Recent USA Men’s 4×100 Disqualification

| On 20, Aug 2016

Last night the USA men’s 4×100 relay team appeared to finish third in the Olympic final, but soon after was disqualified for failing to make the first exchange within the zone.

This continues a pattern of disqualification for the US men’s 4×100 team over the last nine years. Below is their competitive record in the major international championship events — the Olympic Games, World Championships, and World Relays.

2008 Olympic Games

Team: Rodney Martin, Travis Padgett, Darvis Patton, Tyson Gay
Result: did not finish (semifinal)
The baton was dropped at the third exchange (Patton to Gay).

2009 World Championships

Team: Terrence Trammell, Mike Rodgers, Shawn Crawford, Darvis Patton
Result: disqualified (semifinal)
The team appeared to win its semifinal in 37.97, but was disqualified for an early pass at the third exchange (Crawford to Patton). An appeal was rejected.

2011 World Championships

Team: Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Darvis Patton, Walter Dix
Coach: Jon Drummond
Result: did not finish (final)
The third exchange was not completed. Patton collided with Britain’s anchor leg, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, fell to the track, and dislocated his shoulder.

2012 Olympic Games

Team: Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey
Coach: Jon Drummond
Result: retroactive drug disqualification
The team finished second to Jamaica’s World Record in a new American Record time of 37.04, equal to the old world record. However, Tyson Gay returned a positive doping test in 2013 and aided USADA in the investigation. The result was an annulment of all his results since July 2012, including this relay.

2013 World Championships

Team: Charles Silmon, Mike Rodgers, Mookie Salaam, Justin Gatlin
Coach: Jon Drummond
Result: Silver medal, 37.66
Gatlin got the baton with a narrow lead but had the impossible task of holding off Usain Bolt.

2014 World Relays

Team: Marvin Bracy, Trell Kimmons, Mookie Salaam, Charles Silmon
Coach: Dennis Mitchell
Result: disqualified (heats)
The second pass (Kimmons to Salaam) was out of the zone.

2015 World Relays

Team: Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey
Coach: Dennis Mitchell
Result: Gold medal, 37.38
The team built up a big lead before the anchor leg and Bailey held off Usain Bolt for the win.

2015 World Championships

Team: Trayvon Bromell, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Mike Rodgers
Coach: Dennis Mitchell
Result: disqualified (final)
The team appeared to finish second in 37.77, but was disqualified for a late pass at the third exchange (Gay to Rodgers).

2016 Olympic Games

Team: Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Trayvon Bromell
Coach: Dennis Mitchell
Result: disqualified (final)
The team appeared to finish third in 37.62, but was disqualified for an early pass at the first exchange (Rodgers to Gatlin).

Why?

There are a lot of theories about the relay team’s failures.

US relay coach Dennis Mitchell is getting a lot of blame and calls for him to be fired have intensified. If he retains his job it would be highly unusual given the dominant culture in American sports, where a coach’s job security is directly tied to team performance.

Note that Jon Drummond, the national relay coach from 2011-13, appeared to exercise the team’s demons and get results. But he was forced out of the sport for his involvement in Tyson Gay’s positive doping test, which directly led to one of the above disqualifications.

There is a larger common thread through all of these struggles, though: Usain Bolt.

Comments

  1. Jon Chait

    US Men short distances (with starting blocks) has declined significantly since 2004 Olys. Women have held steady and have a parade of future stars coming along. Men look adrift. The situation is catastrophic even absent baton passing (which is bad). Hasn’t anyone noticed that since 2008, in the sprints where US was dominant, Jamaica now is qualifying 2 or 3 for the Olympic finals? On the other hand, US distance running is ramping up with depth. What is going on????

    • mal

      title 9.

      If you aren’t a footballer or basketballer you have no show for a scholarship. Small / Olympic sports are being poorly served and dropped in many cases.

      Women have rightly benefited by gaining funding equal to their numbers in school, but its the minor sports that have paid the price.

  2. Jan Spiro

    You left out the part about Mitchell’s drug history.

  3. In my opinion, it’s not the coaching but the athletes themselves. On the latest disaster, every relay runner knows to never throw your hand back before entering the zone as well as never trying to attempt a pass before entering the zone. These two simple rules are learned at the youth and high school level.

  4. Jordan

    The only way the USA will be better than Jamaica in the sprints is if the NFL puts a team in Jamaica…

  5. James

    Obviously there is the Bolt factor, but I would also argue we may be losing some of our best talent to other sports. Here in Texas 7 on 7 football is killing summer track. The fact remains there is way more money in other sports and many young people see them as more glamorous than track and field.

  6. David Daniels

    And this too shall pass (pun intended).

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