Two years ago at the World Championships, Trinidad and Tobago’s men’s 4x400m team followed the US quartet home for silver. Two years on, an inspired performance enabled them to reverse those positions and earn a historic victory as Lalonde Gordon, a part of their quartet for the last five years, found the will to take over the lead in the final 20 metres from the wunderkind last leg runner for the States, Fred Kerley.
The 22-year-old Kerley ran 43.70 as a college athlete in May, but it has been a long season for him as he has turned professional, and Gordon’s experience told in those final few metres as he brought his team home in 2:58.12 – the fastest time run this season.
Gordon’s final run had been set up by determined efforts from Jarrin Solomon, individual 200m bronze medallist Jereem Richards, who moved the team back into contention as the US threatened to break away, and Marcel Cedenio, who was also in the 2015 quartet.
The US team – Wilbert London III, Gil Roberts, Michael Cherry and Kerley - took silver in a season’s best of 2:58.61, with bronze going to a British team that had undergone some disruptions in qualification.
Britain’s 400m hurdler Jack Green was drafted in at short notice and performed with honour to help the hosts reach the concluding event of these Championships. For the final the services of Matthew Hudson-Smith were once more available, and he contributed mightily along with Dwayne Cowan, Rabah Yousif and last leg runner Martyn Rooney, the 2014 and 2016 European champion.
Belgium, with all three Borlee brothers – Jonathan, Dylan and Kevin – in place alongside Robin Vanderbemden, were fourth in 3:00.04, just ahead of Spain, who clocked a national record of 3:00.65.
"It was a big motivation to come here and win -- give it big,” said Jarrin Solomon, who was in the team that was disqualified in their heat at the Rio Olympics. “We knew and we made sure that we set up the team correctly.
“We worked so hard and it means so much to our team. It has a special sweet taste for us this year.
Richards commented: "I just tried to go there and make sure we have the chance to execute well on the last leg.”
Machel Cedenio added: "We knew the US team are always strong and we were prepared for that. I feel just grateful now. I think it was the best experience of all my career. The London crowd is always so supportive, We came third in 2012 in the national record. Now it is gold and I cannot ask for more."
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF