Andre De Grasse anchored Canada to an upset gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the World Championships in Oregon on Saturday as the United States quartet once again failed to deliver.
De Grasse – who battled through injury and a second bout of Covid-19 in order to be fit for duty in Eugene – surged home to take the gold for Canada in 37.48sec at Eugene’s Hayward Field.
Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake and Brendon Rodney put De Grasse in position to streak home for victory as the USA took silver in 37.55sec and Britain the bronze in 37.83sec.
De Grasse admitted the Canadian victory on US home soil had been especially sweet.
“It felt great to do it, to spoil the party for them,” De Grasse said. “There are a lot of Canadian fans out there and it feels like we kind of did it a little bit on kind of home soil.
“We talked about this moment so many times. We came up a little bit short at the Olympics, and we were all like, you know, we could do better.”
The relay gold was also satisfying for De Grasse on a personal level. The Olympic 200m champion had been touch-and-go to participate in the championships after his recent bout of Covid-19.
“It was just bad timing,” De Grasse said. “I mean, I got Covid three weeks before the championship. I didn’t have the energy to do the 200 metres and then of course, I was lingering with a foot injury for like two three months.”
Even without the injured 100m gold medallist Fred Kerley, the powerful United States quartet had been expected to add another gold to their successful track campaign.
But after a blistering first leg from 2019 100m world champion Christian Coleman, a sluggish first changeover to 200m champion Noah Lyles left the Americans scrambling.
Another poor baton change from third leg runner Elijah Hall to Marvin Bracy proved costly, and De Grasse was able to hold on for the gold.
“Obviously, we wanted to win but we can’t win them all,” Coleman said. “We came home with the best we could.”
Lyles meanwhile insisted the US sprinters were satisfied with silver despite not performing to their potential.
“This is a really good team, but we didn’t get to show our best ability,” he said. “We still went out there and put it together. We won silver. I am actually pretty happy with that. It’s not about gold every day. We got the stick around.”