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The United States has traditionally dominated the Men’s Olympic 4x100m relay event, winning well over half of the titles awarded since 1912. The USA team was the first to run the event under 38 seconds and has continually set, and broken, new World Records for this distance. The most memorable performance in Olympic history came from the quartet of Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell and Carl Lewis at Barcelona: the fantastic four ran a time of 37.40 seconds - a world record that stood for 16 years.
Mike Lawrence Marsh was born in Los Angeles, and attended Hawthorne High School in the state of California. Marsh failed to qualify for the individual 100m event in Barcelona but more than made up for his disappointment by winning Olympic gold for the 200m distance in a time of 20.01 seconds.
Leroy Russel Burrell grew up in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and attended Penn Wood High School. In 1986 he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while taking part in a long jump competition and was plagued by injury niggles throughout his career. His achievements are thus all the more remarkable. Burrell twice set the 100m World Record with times of 9.90 seconds and 9.85 seconds, his second and faster time stood for two years until the 1996 Olympic Games.
Dennis Allen Mitchell was born in Havelock, in North Carolina and received a scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. Mitchell claimed a bronze medal in the individual 100m event at Barcelona, finishing third behind Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks and winner Linford Christie of Great Britain.
Frederick Carlton Lewis was born in the City of Birmingham, Alabama and studied at the University of Houston, Texas. He claimed a total of 10 Olympic medals, 9 of them gold, during a glittering career and was voted ‘Sportsman of the Century’ by the International Olympic Committee. At Barcelona he won the long jump title with a leap of 8.67 metres and brought home the 4x100m baton in 8.85 seconds, the fastest officially recorded time for a 4x100m anchor leg.