The world best in this seldom-run event is a 1:18.68 by the Santa Monica Track Club at the 1994 Mt SAC Relays. Twenty years later, it’s probably going to see its most serious challenge since 2003, which was the last time any team ran faster than 1:20.
Jamaica, again, are heavy favourites here, with world silver medallist Warren Weir and Nickel Ashmeade carrying the flag and Jason Livermore, Jermaine Brown, Julian Forte and Rasheed Dwyer filling the pool.
The USA – this time led by Wallace Spearmon and Walter Dix with Ameer Webb, Isaiah Young, Curtis Mitchell and Maurice Mitchell (no relation) rounding out the pool – are likely to be Jamaica’s biggest threat.
A world record would require the four runners to average 19.67, but only one of them has to do it from a standing start. Dix and Spearmon have run that kind of time, and Weir has approached it, but if the transitions go seamlessly, the running start should be more than enough to put their teammates in reach of the record. And if both Jamaica and the USA see the record as a possibility, it may be a necessity to earn the victory.
Also in the hunt are strong teams from Nigeria, France (again with Christophe Lemaitre, one of the best 200m runners in the meeting), hosts Bahamas, and some other Caribbean nations including St Kitts and Nevis and the Virgin Islands.
Parker Morse for the IAAF