The United States missed out on a gold medal in the men's 4x400-meter relay for the first time since 1980, finishing behind the Bahamas by just .33 seconds. Team USA did not participate in the event 32 years ago, or any event due to a boycott of the Moscow games. On Thursday, however, they were simply beat, fair and square.
Tony McQuay passed the baton to Angelo Taylor with the lead at the start of the anchor leg. Taylor anchored the gold medal foursome in Beijing, but was chased down and finally passed by Ramon Miller of the Bahamas within the final 75 meters of the race. The island nation was exuberant afterwards.
"For me, it's a joyful feeling," said Chris Brown, who ran the opening leg. "It's been a long journey for me. I've been here for a long time and this is my first Olympic gold medal. I've gotten silver and bronze before. It took me a long time. The United States is a tough team to beat."
The United States' relay team has had a rocky time in London, outside of the race itself. Lashawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner both had to be pulled out of the race before preliminaries due to injuries. To make matters worse, leadoff runner Manteo Mitchell broke his left fibula while in the final 200 meters of his leg during preliminaries. Mitchell finished his portion of the race, somehow, but had to watch his teammates race the finals in a walking boot. He celebrated nonetheless.
"I realize the significance," said Mitchell, who will receive a silver medal because he ran in the preliminaries. "But it's not about me. It's not about you. That's how Team USA operates. A lot of people on outside looking in think that this is an individual sport. But in the end, we're here to serve our countries."