11 MAR 2001 General News

Men's 4x400 metre relay final

Men's 4x400 relay final

One of the weekend's biggest shocks was delivered in the final event of the three days in Lisbon.

The men's 4x400 relay has traditionally been the property of the Americans. Only the British team at the Tokyo World Championships in 1991, plus the German team's world-record performance at the Seville World Indoor championships earlier that same year, have conquered the USA in this event in a world championship setting.

Now it is Poland's turn to join the august company of US beaters.

As the final American runner Jerome Young came off the last turn of the eight-lap race, Robert Mackowiak moved to the outside and cut down the US Olympian just before the finish line.

The Polish team's winning time was 3:04.47, surpassed this year only by the Louisiana State University quartet's 3:04.43 in winning the NCAA championships one day earlier. The US team was clocked in 3:04.64.

Even the Russians had the Americans in their scope at the end, as Andrey Semyonov had the same idea as Mackowiak. His effort fell short of its intended goal, however, but the 3:04.82 time for the bronze medal produced a new Russian national record.

The Americans enjoyed a lead throughout the entire race, from the ten metres carved out by Milton Campbell's leadoff 400 to the two-metre advantage Young had when he took the baton.

But Poland dogged the US runners in second place until the time came for the final strike.

It would be unfair to the Americans not to acknowledge the absence of their indoor champion, James Davis, in the relay. The Colorado runner sustained a hamstring injury in the relay heats yesterday, and was not even able to compete as scheduled in the 400-metre final earlier this afternoon.

Behind the three medal winners were the teams from Jamaica (3:05.45), Great Britain (3:09.21) and Nigeria (3:16.53).