The 2016 Summer Olympics has been truly unscripted. The United States women’s 4×100-meter relay team is not only evident of that but just down right inspirational.
See what had happened was…
It started out as just a normal preliminary race. Allyson Felix dropped the baton after being bumped by a Brazilian runner. They protested and that led to a rerun. I have never seen a rerun in my years of viewing the Olympics. It is unlike anything I have seen in sports. It is you, the track and time. The fact it was four black women running and representing the U.S. on foreign soil garners so much symbolism of perseverance. The American women qualified on the track alone fastest, taking the place of China in the final.
It gets better, they were given the worst lane of all, lane one, which has the tightest corners and usually impedes top speed. Fear is an illusion. They won the 4×100-meter relay in 41.01 seconds and was able to defend their Olympic title.
The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie finished first to win the gold medal, followed by Jamaica and Great Britain.
The gold was Felix’s fifth, the most of any U.S. female track star in history.
The Jamaican team that featured Elain Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was second in 41.36. Britain won bronze in a national-record 41.77.
“Adversity sometimes makes you stronger,” Felix said. “We’ve each had a rocky road to get here, and we came together to win the gold.”
The lines were nearly blurred as an impressive comeback or disaster. The women kept their faith focused faces. It didn’t bother them.
Felix ran the second leg for the Americans, the same section as 100- and 200-meter gold medalist Thompson, and passed to Gardner, who ran a powerful curve to give her team the lead. Bowie ran the anchor leg and held off Fraser-Pryce as the Americans only narrowly missed the world record.
I was grateful to witness Bartoletta who was already waiting for Bowie for a wild embrace and to celebrate the second-fastest time in history behind the world record that Felix and teammates set in winning gold at the London Games.
This goes down as one of my greatest Olympics moments I have been fortunate to witness. A normal preliminary race turned into the symbolism of understanding perseverance and staying the course no matter what. It will turn out golden.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.