The Guardian is running a series of “50 stunning Olympic moments.” A recent one is this, on the men’s 4x100m relay final in 2004. Hot damn, that was good. You remember, right? The team – Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis – had been pilloried in the media (especially on the BBC, whose pundits Michael Johnson and Colin Jackson had each made a few disparaging comments relating to players’ fitness and commitment levels) and had all failed even to make the final of the main 100m event. The American team featured the past two 100m champions (Gatlin and Greene) and the 200m champion (Shawn Crawford), and were carrying the USA’s ridiculously good record in this event at the Olympics.
Without further ado:
I just can’t help being massively thrilled by it. As several predictable Americans point out in the comments, Maurice Greene would only have needed another couple of metres to catch Lewis-Francis on the final leg, but that’s hardly the point, is it? This was a team that embodied the disappointment that has been British sprinting since Linford Christie retired, upstaging the crazily quick Americans in their own favourite event. One of the best British athletic performances, given the circumstances. But there’s no way it could match this one: