Team GB‘s men’s 4x100m relay team reached Friday’s final after coming second in their heat while favourites USA crashed out of the competition.
CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Richard Kilty and Zharnel Hughes finished in 38.02 seconds in the first heat, finishing second behind Jamaica.
Yet the big shock came in the second heat, as the USA team of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie finished sixth, done in by a series of bad exchanges that resulted in a time of 38.10 seconds.
Team GB’s men’s 4x100m relay team reached Friday’s final after coming second in their heat
Yet favourites United States won’t be in the final after mucking up a number of changeovers (Cravon Gillespie pictured)
The USA team featured two of the individual 100m finalists in Kerley and Baker, the world leader Bromell and Gillespie, who also ran the heats en route to their 2019 world championship-winning team.
But despite the depth of talent on show, a shocking second changeover saw them lose all momentum and Gillespie was unable to run them back into contention in a mass finish, with China the surprise heat winners in 37.92.
Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis did not hold back in his assessment, tweeting: ‘The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay.
‘The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, and it was clear that there was no leadership.
‘It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU (Association of American Universities) kids I saw.’
Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis was scathing in his criticism of the USA team
Gillespie was unable to run them back into contention as China won the second heat
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (R) sprints the final leg for the Brits who will be targeting a medal
Canada were second, two thousandths of a second behind, and Italy, helped by newly-crowned individual champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, posted a national record 37.95 to also advance.
After dominating the event for decades, a succession of disqualifications contributed to the United States not managing gold since 2000.
This is the latest setback in what has been a considerably below-par performance in Tokyo for the male side of the sport’s traditionally most powerful nation.