Relay redemption: De Grasse anchors Canada to bronze after U.S. disqualified

Usain Bolt led Jamaica to a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the men's 4x100-metre relay Friday, while Canada crossed the finish line fourth but a disqualification to the United States bumped Canada to the bronze medal position.

Jamaica takes gold to give Usain Bolt his 'triple-triple'; American appeal rejected by IAAF

Canada's Andre De Grasse, right, and Brendon Rodney celebrate following the men's 4x100-metre relay final. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

By CBC Sports

The final result is in: the Americans are out, the Canadians are in, and the Jamaicans are golden after a hectic day on the track. 

As Usain Bolt led Jamaica to a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the men's 4x100-metre relay Friday, Canada's apparent fourth-place finish would be turned into a bronze medal after the United States was disqualified for an illegal baton exchange.

The USA Track & Field (USATF) had appealed the disqualification, which has since been rejected. "All protests and appeals rejected," IAAF spokeswoman Anna Legnani said Saturday. "All results stand.'' 

The original results had Jamaica complete the relay in a time of 37.27 seconds, followed by Japan at 37.60, in an Asian record. The United States recorded a time of 37.62.

Canada was fourth, with Akeem Haynes, Aaron Brown, Brendon Rodney and anchor Andre De Grasse stopping the clock at a new national record of 37.64, lowering the mark of 37.69 set in Atlanta for 1996's gold-medal win.

While Bolt and his teammates celebrated, the Canadian relay team stood disappointed through their television interview. "It kind of hurts right now; this one is pretty tough," De Grasse said, thinking his team had come up short. 

The 21-year-old ran a blistering anchor leg, almost reeling in both the American and Japanese teams. 

But then the United States were charged with an illegal baton exchange, with officials saying the team's leadoff runner, Mike Rodgers, passed the baton to Justin Gatlin outside the exchange zone.

Trinidad and Tobago were also disqualified, for a lane infringement. 

Then, elation for the Canadians. 

"That's crazy! I don't know what to say. Hey, I'm proud of these guys man that's all I can say," exclaimed Haynes, moments after learning of the DQ.

It is an Olympic redemption for Canada, who lost a bronze medal to disqualification at the London Olympics. Four years ago, it was Jared Connaughton charged with stepping on the line. 


The team was also disqualified at the 2015 Pan American Games, wiping out a gold medal. However, at 2015 world championships, the Canadian team won bronze when the Americans were also disqualified for an illegal baton change.

"This is nothing new to me. I'm just happy we're on the good side of this DQ this time instead of the bad side," said Aaron Brown.

The relay secures a third medal at these Summer Games for Andre De Grasse, adding to his bronze in the 100-metre and silver in the 200-metre. He is the first Canadian to win three sprint medals in a single Summer Games.

"I'm so happy in my Olympic debut, three Olympic medals, and you know one of them was with my teammates right here," said De Grasse.

Because Canada kept their medal, Mobolade Ajomale of Richmond Hill, Ont., will keep his, too, because he ran the heats to help the Canadians reach the final before De Grasse stepped in.

It will also be six medals for the track and field team, an improvement over the one claimed at London 2012. (Derek Drouin's high jump bronze.)

It was also the last Olympic race for sprint legend Usain Bolt.

Friday's gold-medal victory completes the 100-metre, 200-metre, and 4x100-metre combination for Bolt at these Games. It is a feat he has accomplished at each of the last two Olympics, for a career total of nine gold medals, and the illustrious "triple-triple."

"There you go, I am the greatest," stated Bolt after the relay race.

With files from The Canadian Press


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