US quartet strikes again
21 July 2002 - The tradition wants that the four relays be run on the final day of the competition.
It was the men’s 4x100m who offered the best technical results with the American team of Ashton Collins, Wes Felix, Ivory Williams and Willie Hordge establishing a new world junior record of 38.92.
The four teenagers became the first ever to dip under the 39-second barrier as the former world best was 39.00 held by another US team of Neal Jessie, Allen Franklin, Stanley Blalock and Dennis Mitchell since 1983.
The extraordinary performance was the result of the pure talent of the four athletes, the crowd’s massive support and the presence of what the world has best to offer in terms of junior sprinters.
Indeed, the USA had to fight hard to hold off brilliant teams from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
“We were very confident,” revealed Wes Felix who ran the second leg. “We were all aiming for gold because we know we have talent.”
Felix who was also a bronze medallist in the individual 200m turns 19 today and certainly couldn’t have hoped for a better present.
“These championships have been fantastic for me, two medals and a world record this is my best ever birthday.”
The US quartet admitted they had troubles with their first and second exchanges but were proud of their last exchange which set 100m bronze medallist Hordge on track for gold.
“The only thing that was in my head when I had that relay baton was ‘stop the clock” were Hordge’s simple words.
The tactic was simple and clear as Williams explained: “my job was to hand the relay baton in first position to Willie. I knew that if I did, we would get gold.”
The American sprinters may not have noticed that around them both Trinidad and Jamaica were having great trouble with their exchanges but they certainly couldn’t help hearing the crowd.
“They have been great all week long but tonight was special,” commented Felix. “Jamaica is great”
From the stand former world record holder Leroy Burrell was a happy man. “I am proud of these boys. What they have accomplished is unbelievable. They competed against the best athletes in the world and obtained excellent results. They have just ensured that US sprinting carries on for years to come. They are the future of the sport in our country.”