Chris Brown of the Bahamas, Demetrius Pinder of the Bahamas, Michael Mathieu of the Bahamas and Ramon Miller of the Bahamas celebrate winning gold in the Men's 4 x 400m Relay Final on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 10, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
After making a point of holding off the challenge of Team USA in yesterday’s heats albeit both teams concluded with the same time, Brown was moved from anchor to first leg for tonight’s final and that move proved an excellent decision for the Caribbean nation.
Fourth in the individual 400m final – he was also fourth in Beijing – Brown had a lot to fight for and was determined not to return medalless from his fourth successive Olympic Games. The 2010 World Indoor champion Brown worked hard down the home straight to pass on to Pinder, the individual seventh placer here in London, who broke from his lane ahead of the field.
Chased by the USA (Joshua Mance), Trinidad and Tobago (Jarrin Solomon), Cuba (Raidel Acea), Russia (Denis Alekseyev), Belgium (Antoine Gillet) and Great Britain (Jack Green) in this order Pinder held on strongly while teams of Venezuela and South Africa were already out of contention behind the leaders.
The only team to move up as the second exchange approached was Team GB with Green running another impressive leg to hand over to 400m Hurdles World champion David Greene. But the race that mattered for the gold medal was now run a full 20 metres ahead now with Tony McQuay (USA) moving past Mathieu (BAH) halfway through the back straight and putting the US in the driver’s seat for the first time in the race.
Meanwhile Ade Alleyne-Forte (TRI) had put some daylight between himself and the chasing pair of Greene and Noel Ruiz but the Cuban team would eventually fail to reach the finish line. A superb third-leg from Jonathan Borlée saw Belgium move into fourth but their position would be short-lived after he passed to anchor leg Michael Bultheel.
At the final exchange it was USA marginally ahead of Bahamas with Trinidad in third and Belgium, Great Britain and Russia closing up quickly on the third position.
Anchoring Team USA, Angelo Taylor who was part of the Beijing gold medal winning quartet, held off the charge of 200m medallist Miller for 350 metres but the final stages proved fatal as the 2-time 400m Hurdles Olympic champion could not respond to Miller’s devastating finishing kick.
The Bahamas’ 2:56.72 gold medal winning effort was also a national record for the country who incidentally will host the first ever IAAF World Relay Championships in 2014!
Team USA closed in a season’s best 2:57.05 while Martyn Rooney set off in a desperate attempt to catch up Deon Lendore and take Great Britain’s first 4x400 relay Olympic medal since 1992 but he failed just 13 hundredths of a second short of Trinidad’s new national record 2:59.40, the country’s first Olympic medal in the event since 1964!
Aside from a boycott (1980), a DQ (2000) and a withdrawal (1972), that's USA's first defeat in an Olympic 4x400m since 1952!
"It's great to bring home the gold," said Brown. "We really ran well. I trusted in these guys to finally beat the Americans."
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
- Chris Brown of the Bahamas, Demetrius Pinder of the Bahamas, Michael Mathieu of the Bahamas and Ramon Miller of the Bahamas celebrate winning gold in the Men's 4 x 400m Relay Final on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 10, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago, Jarrin Solomon of Trinidad and Tobago, Ade Alleyne-Forte of Trinidad and Tobago and Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago celebrate winning bronze in the Men's 4 x 400m Relay Final of the London Olympic Games on 10 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Silver medalists Bryshon Nellum of the United States, Joshua Mance of the United States, Tony McQuay of the United States and Angelo Taylor of the United States celebrate after the Men's 4 x 400m Relay Final on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Ramon Miller (L) of the Bahamas approaches the finish line ahead of Angelo Taylor of the United States during the Men's 4 x 400m Relay Final of the London Olympic Games on 10 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright