USA mens track wins 4×400 relay gold to avoid ugly history

Carl Lewis had slammed the US men’s 4×100-meter team as a “total embarrassment,” which could have doubled as criticism of the entire men’s track performance. American men had not won a gold entering the very last event, risking a shutout that had not been seen in the 125-year history of the Olympics.

But the men’s 4×400-meter team — led by a few New York natives — ensured that ignominy would be averted, cruising to a comfortable victory on Saturday in Tokyo.

Michael Cherry, born in New York and raised in Virginia, passed off to Michael Norman, who got the Americans the lead. Bryce Deadmon cruised and passed off to Mount Vernon’s Rai Benjamin, who took it home for Team USA in 2:55.70.

The Netherlands (2:57.18) earned silver and Botswana (2:57.27) bronze.

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It helped save face for an American men’s track-and-field performance that only won two golds, the other coming from Ryan Crouser’s shot put victory. Still, these Games will be remembered as a disappointment.

Or an embarrassment, according to the former superstar Lewis. The legend tweeted his criticism after a botched baton handoff between Ronnie Baker and Fred Kerley — they needed three attempts to successfully make the pass — costing the Americans a medal opportunity in the 4×100-meter relay on Wednesday.

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