Race of the Decade: Bolt Region, Round of 64

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By LetsRun.com
December 11, 2019

We are determining the RACE OF THE DECADE (overview here).

Below you’ll find the matchups for the round of 64 in the Bolt Region (sprint races) bracket. Voting will be open until the end of the day (midnight ET) on Thursday, December 12.

You can vote on matchups in the other regions by clicking the links below.

*RACE OF THE DECADE OVERVIEW *RUDISHA REGION *KIPCHOGE REGION *LAGAT REGION *BOLT REGION

Seedings in ().

Race descriptions by Jonathan Gault.

Matchup #1

(1) 2016 Olympics, men’s 400 meters

43.03 from lane 8. Need we say more?

LRC 43.03 From Lane 8! Wayde van Niekerk Takes Down Michael Johnson’s 17-Year-Old 400M World Record to Win Olympic Gold

(16) 2012 Olympics, men’s 4×400-meter relay

Death, taxes, and the Americans in the 4×400. Entering the 2012 Olympics, it had been 60 years — all the way back to Helsinki 1952 — since the USA men had been defeated in an Olympic 4×400 relay.

But the US squad in London was banged-up — 2004 and 2008 Olympic champs Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt were unavailable due to injury, and Manteo Mitchell broke his leg during the prelims. That led to 33-year-old 400 hurdler Angelo Taylor being drafted into the team on anchor.

The Bahamas’ quartet of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu, and Ramon Miller took advantage of the US’s vulnerability by running a national record of 2:56.72 to win the gold, Miller overtaking Taylor on the back straight of the anchor leg after Tony McQuay’s fine 43.4 third leg gave the Americans the lead. 

The tiny island nation — at 385,000, The Bahamas has a population smaller than Wichita — had slayed the mighty Americans.

***

Matchup #2

(2) 2019 World Championships, women’s 400-meter hurdles

Dalilah Muhammad, the Olympic champion and world record holder, added world champion to her resume by outleaning 20-year-old Sydney McLaughlin at the 2019 Worlds in Doha. Muhammad’s 52.16 broke her own world record; McLaughlin’s 52.23 was the #3 time ever run.

LRC Fabulous Friday: For One Night, Qatar Gets Its World Championship Moment

(15) 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, men’s 4×400-meter relay

The winner between Florida and Texas A&M — who also happened to have the two fastest 4×400 squads in collegiate history at the time — would win the NCAA team title. An A&M squad featuring Fred Kerley came from behind on the final straight to defeat a Florida team featuring Grant Holloway and hand the Aggies the NCAA title.

LRC Best Ending Ever? Texas A&M Men Win Their First NCAA Indoor Title by Half a Point After Coming from Behind to Win 4×400

***

Matchup #3

(3) 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships, women’s 4×400-meter relay

The last race at the old Hayward Field was one to remember. USC needed a win to clinch the NCAA team title, but with 200 meters to go, that looked to be impossible: anchor Kendall Ellis was 25 meters back, in part because of a botched final handoff. But Ellis, who had been outkicked by Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers a year earlier, rallied back over the final 100, nipping Purdue’s Jahneya Mitchell at the line in an all-time great finish.

LRC USC Women Bring the Curtain Down on Hayward Field By Clinching the National Title in Dramatic 4×400 Relay

(14) 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships, women’s 4×400-meter relay

The winner of the women’s 4×400-meter relay between Oregon and Texas would also win the 2014 NCAA indoor team title. Both squads had absolute studs on anchor: Texas with reigning world U20 champ Ashley Spencer and Oregon with future world champ Phyllis Francis, who had broken the American record in the 400 just hours earlier.

Spencer held a slight lead off the final turn, but Francis closed her down in the final meters to give Oregon the win (by .02), the team title (by half a point), and the collegiate record (3:27.40).

LRC Track And Field At Its Finest: The Greatness Of Phyllis Francis Leads Oregon To Title

***

Matchup #4

(4) 2019 World Championships, women’s 400 meters

Shaunae Miller-Uibo entered the 2019 Worlds riding a 2+ year unbeaten streak and ran a huge personal best of 48.37 (#6 time) in the 400-meter final in Doha. But it wasn’t enough, as Salwa Eid Naser earned gold with 48.14 — the fastest time in the world in 34 years.

(13) 2015 World Championships, women’s 200 meters

One of just three races in which three women broke 22 seconds, Elaine Thompson ran the fastest non-winning time ever — 21.66 (#5 all-time) to take second behind Dafne Schippers. Commiserations to Candyce McGrone (4th, 22.01) and Dina Asher-Smith (5th, 22.07), whose runs would have been podium-worthy in all but one other World Championship.

LRC Day 7 Recap: Dafne Schippers & Ashton Eaton Set the Track on Fire; Tianna Bartoletta Wins LJ Gold with PB on Final Attempt

***

Matchup #5

(5) 2016 Olympics, women’s 400 meters

Shaunae Miller-Uibo running out of gas combined with a late charge from Allyson Felix led to one of the great finishes in Olympic history. Ultimately, Miller-Uibo’s dive — more of a collapse from exhaustion than a strategic maneuver — gave her the Olympic title. Barely.

(12) 2014 European Championships, women’s 4×400-meter relay

Everyone loves a good anchor-leg comeback on the 4×400. There may have been none better this decade than France’s Floria Guei at the 2014 Euros.

MB France’s INSANE anchor leg in the 4x400m at the European Championships

***

Matchup #6

(6) 2019 Zurich Diamond League final, men’s 400-meter hurdles

This was the male equivalent of the Muhammad-McLaughlin race at the 2019 Worlds. Norway’s Karsten Warholm ran 46.92 (#2 all-time) to hold off USA’s Rai Benjamin (46.98, T-#3 all-time) as two men broke 47 in the same race for the first time.

LRC Zurich Weltklasse: Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin BOTH Go Sub-47, Joshua Cheptegei Steals 5000, Noah Lyles Over Gatlin

(11) 2013 World Championships, men’s 400-meter hurdles

Trinidad & Tobago’s Jehue Gordon ran down American Michael Tinsley over the final 100 to win by .01.

***

Matchup #7

(7) 2015 Worlds, men’s 100 meters

For the first time in eight years, Usain Bolt was not the favorite in a global sprint final. With a season’s best of just 9.87 and a near-defeat to Zharnel Hughes over 200 meters in New York, Bolt looked vulnerable. Justin Gatlin, meanwhile, had ripped off a string of 9.7s during the Diamond League season.

The semifinals — in which Gatlin ran 9.77 and Bolt ran 9.96 after nearly falling at the start — only confirmed Gatlin’s status as a favorite. Yet Bolt, like all great champions, summoned his best when it mattered the most, while Gatlin, unable to shake the competition for the first time all season, broke form and faltered late. Bolt won, 9.79 to 9.80, to hand Gatlin his first loss in almost two years. “One Love” played on the Bird’s Nest speakers during his victory lap.

LRC He Is the Greatest: The Incomparable Usain Bolt Wins 5th Global 100 Title As Justin Gatlin Can’t Keep It Together in Final Meters

(10) 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships, women’s 4×400-meter relay

Oregon, needing a win in the 4×400 to win the team title and clinch an unprecedented XC-indoor-outdoor triple crown, had the lead after the final exchange. But inexplicably, anchor Raevyn Rogers allowed USC’s Kendall Ellis to pass her on the inside of the final turn, ceding the lead to the Trojans.

That just ratcheted up the drama as Rogers came from behind to clinch the triple crown for Oregon, 3:27.03 to 3:27.07. Both schools broke the old collegiate record.

LRC From Choke to Clutch: Oregon Ducks Complete First Triple Crown With NCAA Record in 4×400

***

Matchup #8

(8) 2013 World Championships, women’s 400 meters

Botswana’s Amantle Montsho stayed upright and perhaps even let up a little before the line. Great Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu ran hard all the way and leaned. That was the difference in a race decided by four-thousandths of a second.

(9) 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, men’s 110-meter hurdles

This race was the reason why Grant Holloway returned for his junior year at the University of Florida. Holloway didn’t just win his third straight NCAA title, but he ran 12.98 to break Renaldo Nehemiah’s 40-year-old collegiate record and become the first collegian under 13.00. He had to run that fast because runner-up Daniel Roberts of Kentucky, who had battled Holloway all year and even beat him at SECs, ran 13.00 for second to match Nehemiah’s mark.

LRC 2019 NCAAs: Grant Holloway’s 12.98 NCAA 110 Hurdles Record & Divine Oduduru’s 9.86/19.73 Double Highlight An Incredible Night of Sprinting

***

You can vote on matchups in the other regions by clicking the links below.

*RACE OF THE DECADE OVERVIEW *RUDISHA REGION *KIPCHOGE REGION *LAGAT REGION *BOLT REGION


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