The United States dominated the final two track races at the Tokyo Olympic Games by cruising to the gold medals in the 4x400m relays in both the women's and men's events on Saturday.
A heavily-fancied women's team comprising 400m hurdles champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin, the decorated Allyson Felix, 400m hurdles silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad, and 800m champion Athing Mu lived up to expectations. The foursome took the title nearly four seconds ahead of runners-up Poland, with Jamaica taking bronze.
It extended the US's dominance of the women's 4x400m relay, making it a seventh straight victory at the Olympics.
Felix, who became the most-decorated woman in Olympic track history when she won bronze in the 400m the night before, now passes Carl Lewis with the most track medals of any US athlete. Of the 11 medals, seven are gold. Paavo Nurmi of Finland holds the all-time mark in track with 12 medals from 1920-28.
The win came on McLaughlin’s 22nd birthday, and gave her another gold to go with the one she captured when she set a world record of 51.46 in the 400m hurdles earlier in the week.
Victory was never in doubt but whether the American quartet could break the world record of 3:15.17, set at the 1988 Seoul Games in the last relay the Soviet Union ran as an Olympic team. In the end they narrowly missed the record with a time of 3:16.85.
Minutes after the women won, the US men also took the gold. The quartet of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon, and Rai Benjamin faced a bit more pressure on their way to the title but eventually pulled away from their rivals for a comfortable win.
It provided a pleasing conclusion to what has ultimately been a disappointing Games for the men's track team. While the women have enjoyed plenty of success, the US men have for the first time failed to win a gold medal in an individual track event.