The United States 4x100m relay squad suffered another Olympic disappointment on Thursday, failing to reach the final after finishing sixth in their heat.
The US quartet of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie trailed in sixth in a time of 38.10sec, a performance US sprint great Carl Lewis branded a “total embarrassment.”
A shaky baton handover between Kerley and Baker and a poor anchor leg from Gillespie condemned the Americans to elimination.
Though the USA has suffered multiple disqualifications over the years, Thursday marked the first time an American 4x100m squad has failed to make the Olympic final from a completed heat.
The US, who won the 4×100 gold at the world championships in Doha in 2019, have not taken the Olympic title since 2000, and last earned a medal in the event in 2004, when they took silver in Athens.
The latest flop earned a scathing review by American sprinting legend Lewis.
“The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay,” Lewis 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.”
The Americans’ heat was won by China with a time of 37.92sec while Canada, anchored by newly crowned 200m champion Andre de Grasse, came second.
Italy qualified in third place with a time of 37.95sec.
The other heat was won by Jamaica in 37.82sec with Britain second in 38.02sec.
Japan also reached the final after finishing third in 38.16sec.