At the heart of a monumental relay race, Team USA's track stars perfectly aligned, calling upon two individual medalists to supercharge an already dominant team that had clocked a swift 41.59 in the preliminaries. Not to be left behind, Jamaica introduced their 200-meter champion to their squad, amplifying the excitement.
However, Team GB faced challenges, unable to bolster their lineup as desired. As the fastest qualifiers, the U.S. took their positions in lane 6. Jamaica, who triumphed in the first heat, lined up adjacent to them in lane 7. Close by were Britain in lane 8 and Switzerland in lane 9.
The starting lanes were occupied by Germany in 1, the Netherlands in 2, Poland in 3, Italy in 4, and Côte d’Ivoire in 5.
Star-Studded Lineups Take Stage
Representing the USA were the dynamic quartet of Tamari Davis, TeeTee Terry, 200m silver medalist Gabby Thomas, and the 100m sensation Sha’Carri Richardson.
Jamaica countered with a formidable team featuring Natasha Morrison, track icon Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shashalee Forbes, and 200m gold medalist Shericka Jackson. Team GB showcased Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Bianca Williams, and Daryll Neita, but the absence of Dina Asher-Smith, sidelined by an injury, was palpable.
The race kicked off with Davis and Morrison in the leadoff leg. Morrison's baton exchange to Fraser-Pryce was impeccable, slightly outpacing Davis's pass to Terry. For Team GB, Philip showcased a remarkable start, competing neck-to-neck against Morrison.
In the second leg, Terry demonstrated the same prowess that made her last year's anchor for the gold-winning team. She caught up to Fraser-Pryce, evening out the U.S.' s position with Jamaica. Rumors later circulated of Fraser-Pryce nursing a minor leg strain during this stretch.
The third leg saw the U.S. face a slight hiccup. Thomas began a tad prematurely, making Terry take an additional step for the baton exchange. Despite this, their transition was seamless, contrasting with Jamaica's Fraser-Pryce to Forbes pass.
Thomas then unleashed her prowess, using her unparalleled speed and race acumen to offer Richardson a solid 2-meter advantage. The final leg was crucial. While many speculated Jackson might overtake Richardson, given her exemplary performance the previous night in the 200, Richardson held firm.
She clinched the win with a record-setting 41.03, ranking fourth all-time, edging out Jamaica's 41.21. Britain secured the bronze with 41.97, considerably ahead of Italy’s 42.49. In the aftermath, Davis commented, “I aimed to overcome the stagger, reach TeeTee, and succeeded." Thomas added, "Though there were shaky moments, our trust prevailed." An elated Richardson remarked, "With these remarkable ladies, we achieved what we've tirelessly trained for." At the end of this breathtaking relay, the spirit of teamwork, trust, and sheer determination from all teams was unmistakably evident.