Olympics Summer

Men's 4x100-metre Relay

Who to look out for in the men's 4x100-metre relay.

Country USA
Credentials Defending world champions. Fastest time in the world of 37.80 this year. Two American teams share the world record of 37.40. One set the world record at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell, Carl Lewis). This time was equalled a year later at the 1993 IAAF World Championships in Stuttgart (Jon Drummond, Andre Cason, Dennis Mitchell, Leroy Burrell).

Country Jamaica
Credentials Silver medallist at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka when they also set a national record of 37.89. Has the world's two fastest men available.

Country Great Britain
Credentials A British foursome upset the Americans to win the Olympic gold medal. Bronze medallists at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka.

Country Brazil
Credentials 2007 Pan American Champions they also finished 4th at the 2007 IAAF World Championships.


The Canadians

Coach Glenroy Gilbert, a member of the 1996 Olympic champion 4 x 100m relay team, has a strong squad to work with but none are fast enough to be an Olympic 100-metre finalist. Team work is the key for the Canadians.

Canada qualified for the Olympics by virtue of the time run at the Pan American Games and this year in Lucerne. The likely team will be Hank Palmer, Anson Henry, Jared Connaughton and Pierre Brown (in that order), the same foursome who ran 38.72 to win in Lucerne. They have run together on several occasions and that is an important consideration.

They will need to run around that time or faster to qualify for the final. A top six finish is the team's goal and that is conceivable.

The Lowdown

The Americans have the greatest depth of any sprinting nation but there is more to this event than pure speed. Four years ago the British shocked the Americans in the Athens Olympic final. And at the 2005 IAAF World Championships the Americans failed to get the baton around the track and failed to qualify for the final.

Curiously, since 1984 the Americans have won alternate Olympics despite having the fastest team on paper.

Jamaica will be the favourite on the strength of a resurgent Asafa Powell and the formidable youngster Usain Bolt, who broke Powell's world record in New York this season. The 21-year-old will keep everyone guessing as to whether he will run both the 100 and 200 in Beijing. That's a lot of racing if he does the double.

One slip up by either the Jamaicans or Americans and it will cost them gold.