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World Sport

Britain shock U.S. in sprint relay


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The British squad celebrate their shock win in the Olympic men's 100m relay
SPECIAL REPORT
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- Britain took a shock gold in the men's Olympic 4x100 meters relay, pipping favorites the United States by just one hundredth of a second.

Mark Lewis-Francis held off 2000 Olympic 100m champion Maurice Greene in a blistering last leg to clinch the gold in 38.07 seconds. It was Britain's first in the event for 92 years.

"We have gone and proved everyone wrong, all the people who were talking negative about us," said Lewis-Francis.

"This is the greatest thing that has happened to me in my life. I knew I had won it as soon as I got the baton."

The U.S. quartet had to be content with silver in 38.08 seconds with Nigeria taking bronze in 38.23.

It was only the second time in Olympic history that the U.S. team had been beaten across the line in the event.

Canada beat them in 1996 and they have either dropped the baton or been disqualified on the only other occasions they did not take gold.

Britain's only other victory in the event was when it was first staged at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.

Saturday's triumph was extra sweet for two members of the British team, Darren Campbell and Marlon Devonish who ran the second and third legs respectively.

They were part of the quartet who lost their silver medal from last year's world championships after final-leg runner Dwain Chambers tested positive for the designer steroid THG. In that race the Americans took gold.

But after a searing first leg by men's 200 meters champion Shawn Crawford on Saturday, the second and third legs run by 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin and Coby Miller left the Americans barely on terms at the final changeover.

Smooth changes from lead-off man Jason Gardener, Campbell and Devonish gave Lewis-Francis, Chambers's replacement, a one-meter lead.

The 21-year-old bared his teeth and did just enough to hold off a fast-closing Greene to win by the thickness of his vest, sparking wild celebrations of disbelief in the British camp.

None of the British quartet made Sunday's men's 100 meters final, while Gatlin, Greene and Crawford finished first, third and fourth respectively.

"It is a dream come true. We had amazing faith in each other," said Gardner.

Wariner inspires U.S. 400m relay win

Olympic 400 meters champion Jeremy Wariner led the United States to the men's 4x400 relay title with a commanding run in the third leg.

The United States were well in front when Wariner received the baton and he in turn gave Darold Williamson a clear lead over his struggling opponents.

The United States clocked two minutes 55.91 seconds with Australia second almost five seconds back and Nigeria third.

The victory will be a consolation to the United States, who won at the Sydney Games four years ago but have had their results annulled by the world governing athletics body because one of their team, world champion Jerome Young, should have been serving a doping ban.

Meanwhile, The United States retained the women's 4x400 relay title with a commanding win over their traditional rivals Russia.

Monique Hennagan ran the final leg for the Americans after DeeDee Trotter, Monique Henderson and Sanya Richards had run the early laps.

The U.S. quartet clocked three minutes 19.01 seconds with Russia recording 3:20.16 and Jamaica taking the bronze with 3:22.00


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