It took until the final event on the penultimate day of the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland for the United States to win their first gold medal but after missing out on individual titles in the 100m and 200m, their sprinters combined superbly to win the 4x100m relay title for the sixth successive time.
Four teams were still in title contention at the final changeover but Micah Williams maintained the United States’ slender lead, holding off Jamaica’s Michael Stephens in the process with notable times for both teams.
Led off by double bronze medallist Eric Harrison, the United States set a world U20 leading mark of 38.88 with Jamaica, whose team also included world U20 400m silver medallist Christopher Taylor on the second leg, lowering the national U20 record to 38.96.
Jamaica had looked good coming down the backstretch with Taylor, but were pressed hard after the third changeover as Jhevaughn Mattherson was shaded by the run of the US’s Austin Kratz. The changeover to Williams was also good, leaving Stephens, who closed all the while, too much to do to get back to a solid enough anchor run.
United States have now won the 4x100m relay title at each edition of the World U20 Championships since Bydgoszcz a decade ago but Japan’s run of medals narrowly came to an end.
The silver medallists from two years ago –and ever-presents on the podium since Barcelona in 2012– just missed out on the bronze medal with Luis Bradner from Germany getting it on the dip, 39.22 to 39.23, also replicating their bronze medal-winning performance from 2016.