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Bolt sends Jamaica to relay record

DAEGU, South Korea (AP) — Usain Bolt clutched the purple baton in his right hand and tore off down the track in the final leg of the 400 relay.

There was no one to push the Jamaican star, because the Americans were already out after another botched exchange. This was simply Bolt vs. the clock at the world championships.

The clock didn’t stand a chance.

Bolt ran with an all-out fury Sunday as he helped the team finish in a world-record time of 37.04 seconds. His eyes grew big in amazement after glancing at the clock, he screamed and then tossed the baton up into the air.

This from a man who claimed he wasn’t in record-breaking shape. But anything’s possible when Bolt takes the track.

While his teammates played a big role, Bolt, even with a bothersome Achilles tendon that prevented him from running the curve, brought it on home.

“For me,” Bolt said, “it was just to go out there fast.”

What started out as a disastrous championships for Bolt ended on a high note. Sure, this doesn’t make up for his false start that led to his disqualification in the 100 last weekend, but it does ease the sting a tiny bit.

“I’m very happy with myself,” Bolt said. “We ran very hard for that record.”

Plagued by relay problems in the past, the Americans thought they had those woes figured out. They organised training camps and participated in competitions to get their timing down.

It worked out well for the women as Carmelita Jeter held off Veronica Campbell-Brown down the stretch to win the 400 relay.

Then came the men’s debacle in the final event of the championships, putting a damper on what was otherwise a fine day on the track — a fine competition, for that matter.

The U.S. had a sensational showing in the triple jump with 21-year-old Christian Taylor taking gold and Will Claye, who’s a year younger, winning bronze.

Bernard Lagat also captured silver in the 5,000 as the Americans finished with 25 medals, edging Russia by six. It tied for the team’s second-best showing ever, one away from the top mark.

A medal the U.S. could’ve easily picked up had the team been able to get the baton around the track. Maybe not gold with Bolt focused and motivated, but at least silver.


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