The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
It is not often that a US relay victory is considered an upset but when they ran 3:22.63 to beat the fancied Russian team it was. In fact, the Russians just won silver, finishing in 3:22.91 in front of a fast finishing Jamaica in 3:22.92.
This edition of the team from the USA lacked the stars of previous generations in comparison to the Russian quartet, made up of two 400m finalists and the silver medallists from the 200m and the 400m Hurdles.
The USA's first runner Me'Lisa BARBER led on the back straight and handed over to Demetria WASHINGTON in equal first with Russia and Senegal, after Fatou Bintou FALL had run a superb leg for the Africans.
Washington lead Yuliya PECHONKINA in the back straight but the strength of the hurdle specialist showed and Russia led at the next change. During this leg, Allison BECKFORD brought the Jamaicans from back in the field to third place.
It was then a battle between a 200m runner and an 800m runner as Anastasiya KAPACHINSKAYA (RUS) tried to chase down Jearl MILES-CLARKE (USA). The Russian managed to maintain the speed which carried her to the silver medal in the 200m. Meanwhile the Jamaicans stayed in third, just in front of Great Britain who were now in contact with the leaders following a strong leg from Catherine MURPHY.
The final change was to prove decisive as Kapachinskaya took an age to place the baton into the fumbling hands of Natalya NAZAROVA (RUS) and allowed Sanya RICHARDS (USA) to move into the lead on the final leg. Richards stayed in front until the home straight when Nazarova drew almost level. The Americans were also under threat from the Jamaicans courtesy of a mighty leg by 400m silver medallist Lorraine FENTON whose speed between the 250m and 300m mark suggested she might pass both of the leaders.
It looked like Russia had claimed their prize but Richards held her form and held off the challenge from the Russian 400m finalist to claim victory. While Nazarova just managed to scrape home ahead of FENTON.
Senegal was disqualified after 2001 world champion Amy MBACKE-THIAM moved to lane one to receive the baton for the last leg, instead of maintaining her team's position at the 200m mark.