Novlene Williams-Mills overtook Francena McCorory in the closing metres to lead Jamaica to victory in the 4x400m on the closing night of the IAAF World championships, Beijing 2015.
Williams-Mills entered the final straight some two or three metres down on McCorory, who had led the world on times coming into the championships but failed to qualify for an individual spot at the US trials.
Reversing the result at the IAAF World Relays in May, Williams-Mills took Jamaica to victory and world lead in 3:19.13. The USA was second in 3:19.44 and Great Britain took the bronze in 3:23.62.
It was hard to read the form line coming into the final. Based on what has happened here, Jamaica looked the favourite. All four of their runners had made the individual final. Shericka Jackson, on the second leg, was the individual bronze medallist, lead-off runner Christine Day was fourth, third-leg runner Stephenie Ann McPherson fifth and Williams-Mills sixth.
The USA had only one finalist, but that was Felix, who won the 400m in the fastest time in the world this year, 49.26.
In addition, the USA were able to bring in fresh for the final both McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross, giving them three of the fastest four in the world. Maybe that swung favouritism back their way.
The race was one of momentum swings. Day led off for Jamaica, Richards-Ross for the USA. Advantage Jamaica, who led clearly at the first change. Jackson then ran a strong second leg to hand over in the lead ahead of Hastings.
Then, Felix. The US star had not been able to make much impact on the previous night’s 4x100m, but she turned on a blinder here and made up the huge deficit to put the USA back into the lead with one leg to run. Her split of 47.72 was the third-fastest relay leg in history and the fastest ever seen at the IAAF World Championships.
As McCorory and Williams-Mills entered the final straight, the gold still looked to be heading back to the US. Slowly Williams-Mills cut the lead down, but still it seemed McCorory may prevail. Entering the final 30 metres, though, Williams-Mills pulled out, got on to McCorory’s shoulder and then edged past to give Jamaica both women’s relay medals.
The 33-year-old Williams-Mills was an individual bronze medallist as far back as Osaka in 2007, but her 49.14 anchor leg here was every bit as special.
Len Johnson for the IAAF