Team USA Reveals Shocking Details on Poor 4×100m Relay Result at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 10/19/2021, 10:42 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay – Round 1 – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 5, 2021. Cravon Gillespie of the United States reacts after Heat 2 REUTERS/Andrew Boyers


Team USA has dominated the track and field, giving the world some of the most iconic performances over the years. However, at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, they had a major setback in the 4×100m men’s relay event, as they failed to even qualify for the finals.

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The men’s relay team finished in the 6th position in the heats of the 4×100m men’s relay race. Once considered favorites to clinch a place on the podium, a disappointing performance subjected them to inevitable criticism from fans.

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Team USA finds answers for the failure at Tokyo Olympics 2020

When it comes to track and field, team USA has reigned dominance, alongside the Jamaicans. Going back in history from 1920 to 2000, they consecutively clinched the gold medal or made a podium finish, dominating the 4×100m relay event.

However, at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, the team faced an embarrassing exit in the heats, missing out on the opportunity to even compete in the finals. Leading the charge for Team USA was Trayvon Bromell, alongside Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker, Cravon Gillespie, and Micah Williams.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay – Round 1 – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 5, 2021. Wu Zhiqiang of China and Cravon Gillespie of the United States in action in Heat 2 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

After the mega-quadrennial games ended, athletes tried to figure out what went wrong. In conversation with Track & Field News, the leadoff leg for team USA revealed, “It was just a matter of miscommunication about when to pass the stick.” 

However, the athlete who ran in the third position had different thoughts on their failure. “Practice isn’t the problem we have; it’s just that we need a more consistent system. There are a lot of aspects to passing the baton, and if one of those aspects goes wrong, then you get messed up. That’s something we’ve been doing over the last few years. We’ve just got to fix it.”

Surely, it was not just the fault of athletes’ coordination, but also less training and lack of guidance from coaches.

Wallace Spearmon replaced the coach at the last minute

2007 World Champion and retired American sprinter Wallace Spearmon was present in Tokyo as a council member. He, later on, revealed that athletes were coming up to him for guidance, even though he was not the coach assigned. “Some of the athletes were asking questions, and I told them, you need to ask your relay coach,” he said.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay – Round 1 – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 5, 2021. Lucas Ansah-Peprah of Germany, Filippo Tortu of Italy, Wu Zhiqiang of China and Cravon Gillespie of the United States in action in Heat 2 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

However, Wallace was later informed that he was supposed to be on the coaching staff. While he stepped up to help the team, it was a tough transition for athletes to change their coach at the last moment.

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Even after having the world’s fastest man in 2021, Trayvon Bromell, and stars like Noah Lyles and Fred Kerley, the team failed to put on a noteworthy performance. What do you think went wrong for Team USA?

DIVE DEEPER

The Bitter Truth Behind Team USA’s Failure in the Men’s 4x100m Relay at Tokyo Olympics 2020

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Shreya Verma

406 articles

Shreya Verma is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. A post-graduation student in political science, Shreya is also a professional 10m air pistol shooter. Taking after her athlete father, she was naturally inclined towards the athletic life.

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