American track and field legend Carl Lewis has ripped into the USA men’s 4x100m relay team that failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 final, branding them a “total embarrassment”.
The United States quartet of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie finished sixth in their heat to bow out, behind the likes of Italy, Germany and Ghana.
Despite their wealth of talent across generations, the Americans have not medalled in the event since Athens 2004 – and have not struck gold since Sydney 2000. They were stripped of their silver medals at London 2012 after Tyson Gay failed a drugs test.
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Lewis, who counts two relay triumphs among nine Olympic gold medals, took to Twitter to lambast his compatriots.
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“The USA team did everything wrong in the men's relay,” he wrote on Twitter.
“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 [Amateur Athletic Union] kids I saw.”
Their shock exit leaves Team GB, who stunned Jamaican and USA to win at the 2017 World Championships in London, in with a serious shout of a medal. Jamaica qualified fastest for the final in 37.82 with Britain progressing in 38.02.
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'A massive shock' - Rutherford
Greg Rutherford, star of Super Saturday at London 2012 and now on Eurosport duty in Tokyo, has been surprised at the below-par performance from American athletes in Tokyo.
The USA have won 19 medals in the athletics so far – 12 clear of any other nation – but only four of those are gold. They won 13 golds in Rio and nine in London.
“It’s a massive shock,” he said. “This has been a really odd Games for Team USA when it comes to track and field.
“The US are usually so dominant and they are picking up medals of course – as we saw with the world record in the women’s 400m hurdles – but they are not winning as many as they would like.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a big talk, a bit of an inquest. Team USA expect to be the best team on the track, currently they are teetering on the edge.”
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