Twanisha Terry anchors USA to the 4x100m title at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)
The United States dethroned the queens of the sprints, the Jamaican women’s 4x100m, with fresher legs and crisper handoffs at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 on Saturday (23).
As Twanisha Terry held off Shericka Jackson on the home stretch, the crowd at Hayward Field produced the loudest roar in nine days of competition.
The US clocked a world-leading 41.14, the fifth-fastest time ever and the fastest time on US soil, to edge defending champion Jamaica, which came in at 41.18, the sixth-fastest all-time. They reversed positions from the Tokyo Olympics, where Jamaica claimed the gold and the US won the silver.
“Coming into here, we knew we had to have the chemistry,” said Terry. “We had to move the baton through the exchanges. You can have the fastest four legs, but if you don’t move the baton around the track, then what are you doing?
“So we knew we had to focus on ourselves and trust one another.”
The US won its eighth gold medal and 13th overall in the event after placing third in 2019.
But all eyes were on Jamaica with its all-star line-up.
Jamaica not only fielded the three world and Olympic medallists in the 100m, but in Elaine Thompson-Herah, the nation had the fastest woman alive in the 100m. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the five-time and reigning world champion in the 100m and Jackson is the fastest woman alive in the 200m. They had five individual medals from this World Championships between them.
Kemba Nelson, the lead-off leg, was the 60m champion for the University of Oregon in 2021 and running on her home track.
Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce and Jackson had already run six races apiece.
The members of the US team, by comparison, had not won any medals in individual events in Eugene and had run fewer races. Lead-off leg Melissa Jefferson was eighth in the 100m, Abby Steiner placed fifth in the 200m, Jenna Prandini did not reach the final in the 200m and Terry did not make the 100m final.
“It was not expected of us today and I am glad we pulled it through,” said Jefferson.
But the US team had experience from the preliminary round, with Steiner replacing Aleia Hobbs as the only difference in team composition. For Jamaica, Nelson was the only carryover.
“Of course, we wanted to win,” said Thompson-Herah. “But we are glad for the silver tonight and we cannot complain.”
Jefferson produced the fastest lead-off leg of 11.35, and although the first pass could have been better, Steiner clocked 9.86 on the second leg. Prandini ran 10.05 and Terry came home in 9.88.
Jamaica’s splits were 11.45 for Nelson, who had a messy exchange with Thompson-Herah, forcing the Olympic gold medallist to slow in order to stay in the zone. Thompson-Herah clocked 10.10, then Fraser-Pryce’s split was 9.97 and Jackson produced a sizzling 9.66.
Steiner, who had won NCAA and US national titles on the Hayward Field track earlier this season, said she could hear the crowd chanting her name. “I got a boost of energy right before I ran to know so many people were watching us and rooting for us,” she said.
Prandini, running on her home track at the University of Oregon, had a nearly flawless exchange with Terry, giving her such a head start on Jackson that the Jamaican could not close the gap.
“The race was electrifying,” said Terry. “You heard the stadium. The stadium went crazy. We just brought it home.”
Jamaica won its 16th medal in the event. Fraser-Pryce won her third medal in Eugene — one gold and two silvers — for a total of 14 World Championships medals, tying compatriot Usain Bolt. Fraser-Pryce also made her seventh appearance in the event, equalling the event record of her compatriots Beverly McDonald and Kerron Stewart.
Germany won its first medal since 2009 in the 4x100m, clocking 42.03, and the team members were crying with joy. Nigeria placed fourth with an African record of 42.22.
Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with an injury ahead of the final hand-off for Great Britain, the team going on to finish sixth.
Daryll Neita, anchoring for Great Britain, ran the fastest split of 9.57.
Karen Rosen for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S 4x100m MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||United States 🇺🇸||41.14 WL|
|🥈||Jamaica 🇯🇲||41.18 SB|
|🥉||Germany 🇩🇪||42.03 SB|