Justin Gatlin rates team USA's chances of breaking 12-year long Jamaican 4x100m relay world record in 2024

Gatlin in a past Olympics relay event

Justin Gatlin rates team USA's chances of breaking 12-year long Jamaican 4x100m relay world record in 2024

Mark Kinyanjui 19:17 - 17.04.2024

Justin Gatlin has offered his opinion on whether the US relay team that comprises Fred Kerley, Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman can break the world record set by Jamaica in 2012.

Former 100m Olympic champion Justin Gatlin has expressed confidence in Team USA's ability to break Jamaica's long-standing 4x100m world record of 36.8 seconds.

Gatlin, who recently discussed this topic on his "Ready Set Go" podcast, believes that with the current talent pool and the right preparation, the American team has a genuine shot at rewriting history.

Currently, Team USA holds the title of world champions in the 4x100m relay, having clinched a gold with a formidable lineup comprising Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, and Fred Kerley. The trio clocked an impressive time of 37.67 seconds to secure the top spot.

The existing world record was set by the Jamaican team at the 2012 London Olympic Games and has remained unbroken for nearly a decade. Meanwhile, Team USA's national record stands at a commendable 37.0 seconds.

"36.8 is a gigantic order. 37 low is a tall order," Gatlin acknowledged, emphasising the challenges associated with breaking such a formidable record. "Everything has to be perfect – the environment, the competition, the elements. Everyone needs to be in peak condition and ready to run."

Gatlin pointed out the rarity of opportunities to achieve such a feat, noting that Olympic finals for the 4x100m occur only once every four years, with World Championships taking place every two years.

"For that to happen, the stars have to align," Gatlin explained. "But I believe that with the talent we have today and the right training, it is possible. It could happen; it is possible."

The sprinting veteran emphasised the importance of timing, precision, and seamless handoffs in the relay event. He also highlighted the significance of team confidence, particularly in ensuring smooth baton exchanges, a crucial aspect of relay races.

“You look at the athletes you have right now and we put a scenario where they are going to be at their best this year," he added.

“Let’s say Coleman gets back to his 9:74, Kerley gets back to his 100m shape - he is now 9.8, 9.7 on that back stretch, then you have Erryon Knighton on that turn and then you have Noah Lyles bringing it home, that is a very formidable line-up if they handle stickoffs correctly and get it around the turf, boy, you are looking at something crazy.”

As the track and field community eagerly anticipates the upcoming competitions, Gatlin's optimism serves as a motivating factor for Team USA. With the right preparation and a strong team dynamic, the possibility of breaking Jamaica's world record could become a reality, ushering in a new era of sprinting excellence for the United States.