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.”
Yulia Gushchina took the Russian baton out hard from the gun and was well up on the field in the first 150 metres but not to be outdone USA’s Deedee Trotter had a brilliant second 200 and pulled away into the home straight and passed over the first of the eight teams. Russia was next with hosts Britain close behind as the first handover was completed.
Allyson Felix took up the second leg and the Olympic 200m champion did not disappoint in fact her turn of speed into and off the bend was spell binding and in the space of 100 metres she had opened up a 10 metres gap on the pursuing Russians, who were represented by Antonina Krivoshapka, herself a former World champion. But the pace of the American was too strong for all and by the second exchange of sticks Felix had opened up a 20 metres lead on the Russians, and not surprisingly so as her leg had been 47.8!
Francena McCorory took over from Felix with not just daylight but a chasm between the USA and the rest of the world led by Russia and Jamaica, the silver and bronze medallists behind USA in Beijing, and Ukraine, who had impressed in the qualification round.
But it was essentially already game-over as the USA’s lead was sustained throughout the third leg, and with Russia and Jamaica breaking away from Ukraine, ultimately the medal positions had already been decided.
Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross was the final leg runner for USA and with a 49.2 leg she brought home a triumphant squad in 3:16.87, ahead of Russia (Antyukh) in 3:20.23, and Jamaica (Williams-Mills) in 3:20.95. Ukraine (Pyhyda) were a distant fourth 3:23.57, but holding a substantial gap in turn over hosts Britain (Ohuruogu) who crossed in 3:24.76.
These five teams all set season’s best performances, with the American gold medallists running the fastest time seen in the world for 19 years.
So the Beijing medal order was repeated, and the USA emphasised, as they did in the women’s sprint relay, to the Jamaicans that they can’t always have it their own way in the sprints.
Chris Turner for the IAAF
Relay splits: Courtesy of media consultant Mark Butler. 'e' denotes estimate. 3:16.87 USA - Deedee Trotter 50.2, Allyson Felix 48.2, Francena McCorory 49.39, Sanya Richards Ross 49.10 3:20.23 RUS - Yuliya Gushchina 50.9, Antonina Krivoshapka 49.8, Tatyana Firova 49.88, Natalya Antyukh 49.67 3:20.95 JAM - Christine Day 51.1, Rosemarie Whyte 50.1, Shericka Williams 50.29, Novlene Williams-Mills 49.46 3:23.57 UKR - Alina Lohvynenko 51.0, Olha Zemlyak 50.4, Anna Yaroshchuk 51.56, Natalya Pygyda 50.63 3:24.76 GBR - Shana Cox 52.8, Lee Mcconnell 51.1, Perri Shakes-Drayton 50.28, Christine Ohuruogu 50.65 3:25.92 FRA - Phara Anacharsis 52.1, Muriel Hurtis 51.8, Marie Gayot 51.15, Floria Guei 50.93 3:27.77 CZE - Denisa Rosolová 51.0, Zuzana Bergrová 52.3, Jitka Bartonicková 52.62, Zuzana Hejnová 50.92 3:26.51 dq NGR - Omolara Omotosho 52.6e, Joke Odumosu 51.2e, Regina George 50.88, Bukola Abogunloko 51.76