The sprint relay produces stories of heroes and scapegoats.
Why? Because of the controversy over the selection and order of the relay pool, as well as the outcome of dropped batons and missed exchanges.
You can go back as far as 1936 with the USA 4x100m team, a team that was pre-selected and had practiced prior to the games. At the last minute, Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe were selected over Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller.
Even in 1996, the USA team was trying to figure out where Carl Lewis fit into the equation (when he didn’t come top 4 at the 100 meter final at the Olympic Trials, but won his 4th consecutive Gold medal in the Long Jump), and Canada eventually won the 4×100 meter Gold medal with Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin & Donovan Bailey. Carlton Chambers ran the first two rounds.
Prior to that 1996 final, for those who remember, was a lengthy delay where Ghana was disqualified for an illegal substitution of one of their relay members.
But in 1999 WC, Canada made substantial changes to their order and was eventually DQ’ed. Donovan Bailey shifted from anchor to leadoff, and Bruny Surin from 3rd to anchor. A rookie was put in 3rd place, which is risky, because the 2nd and 3rd runners have two baton exchanges to worry about.
Remember Marion Jones and Lauryn Williams in Athens 2004? You can hate Marion as much as you want, but it looked to me as the inexperienced 3rd runner took off too early.
I was going to draw out the proper 4×100 meter Push Pass Relay Baton exchanges, but thanks to Tom Crick of www.down-right.co.uk, you can download his PDF file here. A great illustration!
A good example is the video from Inside the Training with HSI – Part 5. The 4x100m clinic featuring Jon Drummond is shown in the 2nd of the 3 part episode.
As usual, the HSI group is entertaining to watch.