OSAKA, Japan -- The United States won a hotly contested 4x100 meters relay final on Saturday, securing Tyson Gay's third gold medal of the Osaka world championships.
The American team celebrate their victory with a lap of honor.
Third runner Gay recovered from a slight baton fumble to open up a clear lead before anchorman Leroy Dixon held off charging Jamaican Asafa Powell and Britain's Mark Lewis-Francis to dip over in 37.78 seconds.
Jamaica paid for some slow work with the baton which left world record holder Powell with too much to do. Jamaica timed 37.89 with Britain inches behind in 37.90.
Gay, already the 100m and 200m champion, becomes only the third man to win three gold medals at the same world championships.
US track legend Lewis scooped trebles in 1983 and 1987 and Maurice Greene repeated the feat in 1999.
"It feels great because I look up to the others guys (Lewis and Greene)," said Gay. "I didn't come to the championships thinking about three gold medals. At the same time I think that's why I got it accomplished, because I came here to have a good time."
He added that the relay gold was more important to him than his individual medals because it was a team effort. "It means a lot. The 4x100 meters really put the icing on the cake," he said. "This was the finest medal I got because I got to get the medal with my team-mates."
Darvis Patton ran the first leg for the United States, claiming his second gold medal in the event after 2003. Second man Wallace Spearmon won bronze in the 200m.
Jamaica were represented by Marvin Anderson, 200m silver medallist Usain Bolt and Nesta Carter, as well as Powell. Britain's bronze was secured by Christian Malcolm, Craig Pickering, Marlon Devonish and Lewis-Francis.
But the headlines will be all about Gay, 25, who had already confirmed his status as the world's foremost sprinter with devastating performances in the 100m and 200m.
After routing great rival Powell in the 100m, he thundered past Bolt for 200m gold and only the third world sprint double after Greene and the disgraced Justin Gatlin two years ago in Helsinki.
The Kentucky-born sprinter was a nearly man until this year after failing to reach the Athens Olympics and finishing fourth behind three Americans in the 2005 world 200m race.
The United States has now won eight out of 11 world 4x100m relays, falling victim to poor baton-passing in the other three. E-mail to a friend