Justin Gatlin on the special attribute about Usain Bolt-led Jamaica's 4 x 100m relay his team USA lacked

Justin Gatlin on the special attribute about Usain Bolt-led Jamaica's 4 x 100m relay his team USA lacked

Mark Kinyanjui 21:34 - 15.06.2024

Gatlin has admitted to being jealous about a unique attribute the Jamaican relay team led by Usain Bolt used to have that made it impossible for team USA to beat.

Former American sprinting great Justin Gatlin has revealed why his USA relay teams were never a match for Jamaica, who dominated the relays for the better part of the 2010s decade.

Jamaica dominated the men’s 4 by 100m relays for years, and managed to win all the gold medals their way in both the world championships and Olympic games between 2008 and 2016.

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The formidable Jamaican team featured some of the fastest sprinters in history, including Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell, and Yohan Blake.

 Although the US team boasted talents like Gatlin and Tyson Gay, they were unable to dethrone Jamaica during this golden era.

Speaking on The Powell's YouTube channel, Gatlin opened up about the reasons behind USA's struggles against Jamaica.

“Our relay teams at that point in time were in shambles because when you watched team Jamaica, a lot of guys grew up together,” Gatlin said.

 “Asafa, for example, grew up with a lot of those guys, whether on club track and things like that, so he had a bond with them."

Gatlin explained that the USA team was comprised of athletes who had not competed together from a young age.

 “Team USA comprised athletes who never ran against each other from a young age and right now at the height of their careers, their top competitors outside of Jamaica would be those guys in the USA field."

This lack of cohesion was evident in the team dynamics. “We always had a veil of like ‘we are on the same team, but stay away from me’. We would walk, they would be laughing. In the call room, you would have thought team Jamaica were on their way to a party,” Gatlin recalled.

Gatlin also mentioned the strategic placement by meet promoters, which often saw the USA and Jamaica teams seated next to each other.

 “We had to sit down and watch them. While they would relax and they would be chilling, we wouldn't be talking to each other. We never got an opportunity to kind of like gel enough to approach the race while relaxed.”

Despite his competitive spirit, Gatlin admired Jamaica's celebratory culture. “As much as I hated to see them win, I loved to see them celebrate. 

“As soon as they crossed the line, there would be dances, and there were people in the crowd with Jamaican flags. You know they weren’t Jamaicans, but they were there for the festivities. They just brought the energy. We never did.”