As if Jamaica did not have a big enough advantage in the 4x100m relay at the Olympic Games in Beijing with Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell in their team, the mistakes of rivals made their task that little bit easier. Buoyed by the astonishing success of Bolt, who had broken world records in winning gold in the 100m and 200m events, Jamaica started the heats for the 4x100m relay as the overwhelming favourites.
Their cause was done no end of good by the disappointing performance of their rivals.
Defending champions Great Britain ran out of lane in their last baton exchange in the heat while the Americans, with such an incredible record in the event, dropped the baton. A feat sadly repeated by the American women’s team too.
With the powerful Nigerian squad also failing to make the final, it again looked like a case of Jamaica against the clock with Bolt, Powell, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater having their focus on the 20-year-old world mark set by the United States of 37.40secs.
Carter ran the opening leg, and established a marginal lead before Frater hurtled down the back straight to hand the baton in a slightly mistimed move to Bolt. The imperious double champion stormed round the bend and by the time he placed the baton in Powell’s hand the result was beyond question.
Bolt pointed down the line in guidance of the now hurtling Powell who dashed across the line in 37.10secs, a full three tenths off the mark set by two American quartets in the early 1990s.
The winning margin was an astonishing 0.96 secs from fellow Caribbean Islanders Trinidad and Tobago. For Bolt it was the crowning moment of his amazing Games; three gold medals, three worlds records. His place as the hero of the Games alongside swimmer Michael Phelps was complete.