The three medalists from the women’s 100-meter race from Jamaica competed in the World Championships sprint relay on Saturday, but they were unable to stop an American quartet from winning gold and eliciting Hayward Field’s loudest cheer of the week.
With just lead runner Kemba Nelson remaining from their semi-final team, Jamaica looked threatening after bringing in their “big three” of Shericka Jackson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Twanisha Terry raced an excellent anchor leg to help the Americans, who included Melissa Jefferson, Jenna Prandini, and Abby Steiner, cross the finish line in 41.14 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in history.
Jamaica finished second in 41.18, the sixth-best time ever, despite losing a few fractions over some prolonged changeovers.
Dina Asher-Smith, the 200-meter bronze medalist, pulled up hurt at the conclusion of her third leg, which allowed Germany to unexpectedly take the bronze in 42.03 and put Britain in contention for a medal.
Each of the previous eight world championships had been won by Jamaica or the United States, and together they had won eight of the previous ten Olympic gold medals.
The American team was hoping their well-honed collaboration might make the difference against a team they hoped might only be a metre or two slower after their grueling individual campaigns. Saturday’s head-to-head was as exciting as any of those.