The U.S. men’s 4x100-meter relay team failed to advance far enough to compete for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics - coming in sixth, despite having been crowned World Champions in 2019.
Even with one recent gold medal in their belts, the U.S. team couldn’t pull it together, clearly plagued by the same series of setbacks that’s prevented a relay comeback for well over a decade. After dropping a baton at the 2008 Olympics, the team suffered an illegal handoff at 2009 Worlds, a tumble at the 2011 Worlds final, then was stripped of a medal at the 2012 Olympics. In 2013, they mishandled a pass at the Worlds final, then were penalised for illegal hand-offs in at Worlds in 2015, and again in the 2016 Olympics finals.
Dozens of fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment, but the most notable critic was none other than sprinting legend Carl Lewis. A track and field world champion, Lewis won nine Olympic gold medals over the course of his career — two of which were for sprint relay. (Plus 10 World Championships.)
The USA team did everything wrong in the men's relay. The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs,… https://t.co/dbUOj2MojY
“The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay,” he wrote on Twitter. “The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, and it was clear that there was no leadership.”
“It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) kids I saw,” he continued. Ouch — imagine having one of the greatest athletes of all time — in your particular sport — roast you so publicly? Yikes!
It's the next day and time to focus on solving the problem. All hands on deck.
Lewis didn’t stop there, though. The sports star has since returned to Twitter in an attempt to address the issue further. “It’s the next day and time to focus on solving the problem,” he wrote. “All hands on deck.”
It’s unclear how exactly Lewis can help Olympians from home, but Lewis plans to go live on Instagram to “discuss what happened” and “what we need to do.” Perhaps he’ll get not coaching?
I'm going to go live tonight to discuss what happened, and what we need to do. Join me for a lively discussion on… https://t.co/O79oQDw6sc