The United States retained the gold medal in the men's 4x400 meters relay with a new Olympic record at the Beijing Games on Saturday.
The U.S. combination consisted of three medallists from the men's 400m, LaShawn Merritt, David Neville, Jeremy Wariner and Angelo Taylor, finished in two minutes and 55.39 seconds to update the tournament's record set by their predecessors in Barcelona, 1992.
Being individually strong, the quartet have proved with the gold medal that they can do a job in the relay event which requires great effort by cooperation in baton exchange.
"We wanted to come here and do something special. I had three great men here to follow me. My job was to get the baton around," said LaShawn Merritt, the gold medalist in 400m race who ran the first leg in the relay.
"We have thought that it's possible to go for the world record. We have definitely done it," said U.S. second leg Angelo Taylor. "We've had a great Olympic Games. We swept the Men's 400m, and now we've swept the 4 x 400m relays."
The U.S. teams have won 15 out of 21 Olympic titles in the men's 4x400m relay.
The Americans had taken the lead from the first lap and have not been challenged by the opponents in the whole race.
Bahamas, one of the fastest qualifiers into the final, won the silver medal with a seasonal best of 2:58.03 by pushing harder and surpassing Belgium in the final leg.
"It was good. Our team is great. I was a little bit nervous. But our team is quite capable and it was amazing and we won silver. We have the best guys out there," said Andretti Bain who ran the first leg for Bahamas.
"We like to compete. When one Caribbean island wins, we all win. When we win, Jamaica wins, and when Jamaica wins, we win," said Bahamas' last leg Christopher Brown.
Russia, who stayed behind in the first three laps, made a rally by the last leg Denis Alexeev and also outpaced Belgium to win a bronze medal. The Russians finished in 2:58.06 who nearly caught up with Bahamas at the finishing line.
"We did a good job because we are very united. We have some very strong competitors like the U.S. and Jamaicans. We didn't expect the Bahamas to do so well today," said Russia's second leg Vladislav Frolov.
"We were really strong yesterday. But today, it's not our best performance, we thought we could get silver. But to get a medal is a good reward for our hard training," he added.
The Jamaican foursome, following the American's heels in the first lap, only finished in the last place in the eight-team event.
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2008)