Alysia Montano anchors the USA to victory in the women's 4x800m at the IAAF/BTC World Relays, Bahamas 2015 (© Getty Images)
The fact that USA successfully defended their 4x800m title at the IAAF/BTC World Relays, Bahamas 2015 wasn’t a surprise. But their margin of victory was quite a shock – not least to their opponents.
Their winning time of 8:00.62 took almost a second off the competition best and area record they set last year. It was also the fastest time in the world in this event for more than 20 years.
World indoor champion Chanelle Price got things underway, going through the first lap in 57.73 before being caught by Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza. Price clocked a 2:01.30 split to Almanza’s 2:00.45, but Cuba’s lead did not last long.
Maggie Vessey then took up the running for the USA and shot into the lead. Her split of 2:00.92 gave the USA a three-second lead at the half-way point. At this stage, Canada had moved into second with Australia third and Poland fourth.
On the third leg, Molly Beckwith-Ludlow produced the first sub-two-minute split of the race, clocking 1:59.50 to give anchor leg runner Alysia Montano a five-second buffer going into the final stage.
Not that she needed it. The 2010 world indoor bronze medallist ran a slightly over-zealous first 400m of 54.95 but still recorded the fastest split of the race, clocking 1:58.90 to bring the USA home in 8:00.62.
Poland held off a back-straight challenge from Australia to finish second in a national record of 8:11.36. Australia finished one place higher than they did last year, taking third in 8:13.97.
There were national records for Cuba in fourth with 8:15.84 and Jamaica in fifth with 8:16.04.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF