Carl Lewis referred to it as a “clown show.
Michael Johnson said it was “embarrassing and ridiculous. And from my viewpoint they were correct.
The U.S. men’s 4 x 100 relay team failed to even qualify for the final at the Tokyo Games on Thursday after finishing in a distant sixth in their heat.
The result means that, in an event they once dominated, Team USA has not even medaled in the last five Olympics.
Apparently, the team’s failure was blamed on a botched baton exchange between Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker at the second to third leg handoff.
Baker needed three attempts to grab the baton, but in reality this version of the U.S. 4 x 100 relay team was never much of a threat to medal.
Trayvon Bromell, arrived in Tokyo as the world’s fastest man but failed to even qualify for the 100m final. Following a disappointing display on Thursday, he admitted: “I didn’t do my job.”
Watching the event from his home in Houston, Carl Lewis the nine-time Olympic gold medalist, who also won two in the relay was very poignant in his opinion of the team.
Lewis, now 60, anchored the American team as they won gold and set world records at both the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and again in Barcelona eight year later.
Never one to mince his words, America’s greatest Olympian took to Twitter following the disappointing showing to voice his displeasure:
“Team USA did everything wrong in the men’s relay. The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, it was clear there was a lack of leadership.” “It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU kids I saw.”
Team USA last claimed the 4 x 100 relay at the 2000 Sydney Games, anchored by Maurice Greene.
The closest they’ve come since then was a second-place finish to Usain Bolt’s Jamaican quartet in 2012, only to have to relinquish their silver medals after Tyson Gay’s failed drug test.
Many believe the runners were in the wrong position in Tokyo.
Much to the dismay of Olympic great Michael Johnson who also voiced his frustration with the team
Johnson called it a lack of preparation, and even tweeted, “This isn’t rocket science.” Trying to get people running full speed to exchange a baton within a 20 meter zone requires practice.
Especially when you haven’t won this event since Sydney in 2000, due to drops and zone violations!
Embarrassing and ridiculous.”
But the relay team can’t take all the blame for what is shaping up to be a disastrous showing for Team USA track and field as it pertains to the Tokyo Games.
There were upsets in the 100 and 200 meter finals, and 110m hurdles as favorite Grant Holloway who looked as if he was beginning his gold-medal celebration before the race was won, was beaten to the line by Hansle Parchment of Jamaica.
They also came up short in the 400, an event traditionally dominated by Americans, including Johnson.
Finally this could end up being the first Olympic Games, the United States has ever competed in with no American man bringing home a track and field gold medal.
Maybe it’s time to get Lewis and Johnson more involved in the year round preparation for the Olympics.
I also know a couple of great track coaches by the names of Troy Shockley and Robert Thomas who’ve done their fair share of winning, and who I’m pretty sue would be up for the challenge of helping restore the glory of USA Track and Field.