Mark Barnes Columnist

The highlight of the Olympic Games must surely be the 4x100m relay final. The 100m sprint has always been the ultimate measure of athletic prowess. The relay turns the top individual event into a team performance, ironically increasing the risk. Some of the biggest upsets in athletics history have been caused by mistakes in a relay. Your whole team gets disqualified if you drop the baton, step out of your lane, run over the hand-over zone or don’t cross the finish line with the baton. The risk is not so much on the ability of the individuals (all of whom are world-class athletes in their own right) as much as it is on the team sequence proceeding seamlessly. There are many stories of upsets. Britain took gold in Athens in 2004 as the US fumbled the hand-over, Canada was denied bronze in London in 2012 as a fraction of a shoe went over the lane line, both the men’s and women’s US teams didn’t even make the 400m relay final in Beijing, as the last baton hand-over failed. It’s bad luck...

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