The USA holds the world record of 40.82 in this event, set in London at the 2012 Olympics, but the clear favourites in Nassau will be world champions Jamaica.
While the USA only have one member of their world-record-setting team from London, Jamaica has all four of the world championship-winning team from Moscow entered, the second-fastest team of all time: Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart, Schillonie Calvert and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, plus Natasha Morrison and Samantha Henry-Robinson to fill the pool.
The USA will put up Alexandria Anderson, Tianna Bartoletta, LaKeisha Lawson, Babara Pierre, Stacey-Ann Smith, and Jeneba Tarmoh.
France and Ukraine had the next fastest marks in 2013, and Great Britain and Trinidad and Tobago are second and fourth for the best national-team marks in 2014 (Jamaica and the USA are first and third respectively). Ukraine, unfortunately, is not entered, but the other three are and will be looking for an open door.
Nigeria’s quartet, boasting a baton carry from world 2000m bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare, is also not to be discounted.
Sentimental favourites here and a reasonable outside shot for the victory are hosts The Bahamas, whose “Golden Girls” marked up victories at the 1999 IAAF World Championships and 2000 Olympic Games. Bahamas’ relay tradition was part of their motivation for hosting the event and their sprint quartet is likely to be competitive to a degree beyond that suggested by the sum of their PBs.
Parker Morse for the IAAF