The 4x400-meter relay may not be the final event at major championships, but I consider it the finale. Whatever comes after it is just the encore.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), also known as the Department of Redundancy Department, looks to crown its first official 4x400-meter World Relay relay champion. Though the title is technically vacant, the world is well aware that the United States is the true incumbent to the 1600-meter relay throne.

Or, they usually are.

We’ll break down the medal contenders for the Men’s 4x400-meter along with personal bests, seasonal bests, and mildly interesting facts about everyone else in the field.

UNITED STATES - National Record - 2:54.29 | Season Best - 2:59.73
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Torrin Lawrence - 45.33 (2013) | 45.34
Tony McQuay - 44.40 (2013) | 44.92
LaShawn Merritt - 43.74 (2013) | 44.14
Clayton Parros - 45.42 (2014) | 45.42
Christian Taylor - 45.17 (2014) | 45.17
David Verburg - 44.75 (2013) | 45.03

The Team USA 4x400-meter Relay is many things. They’re the outdoor world record holders. They’re the newly minted indoor world record holders. They’re the reigning outdoor World Champions. They’re the defending indoor World Champions.

They are, to all appearances, the best relay team in the world. But they’re neither the 2012 Olympic Champions nor the 2014 Penn Relays Champions.

Thoroughly beaten in London and bizarre miscues in Philadelphia have cost the Americans two major relay wins. In both instances, the Bahamas has seized the opportunity, but we’ll get to them later.

The first question is can Team USA bring home yet another 4x400-meter gold? Yes.

Using any combination of the six men above, Team USA could walk away the victors. The sextet are all in good form and as long as their exchanges aren’t complete disasters, then they should be fine.

It’s also insane to imagine that based on seasonal bests, Christian Taylor could be on the final squad. Yes, the triple jumper extraordinaire also has world-class quarter-mile speed.

So based on what’s above, if I had to arbitrarily pick a a team and an order, it would be Verburg, to McQuay, to Taylor, to Merritt.

The second question, which we’ve been emailed by a few hopefully fans, is whether the U.S. can get an American and World outdoor record to match their indoor one.

For us, that discussion isn’t even on the dinner table. It’s still on the shelves at the grocery store, waiting to be bought.

The 2:54.29 squad of Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts, Butch Reynolds, Michael Johnson shouldn’t be concerned this weekend, or for many weekends in the future.

Still, Team USA once again finds itself in the gold medal spotlight--but they’re not alone.

---

BAHAMAS - National Record - 2:56.72 | Season Best = 3:00.78
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Chris Brown - 44.40 (2008) | 45.23 | 45.58
Michael Mathieu - 45.06 (2012) | 45.34
Ramon Miller - 44.87 (2012) | 45.21
Wesley Neymour - 45.54 (2013) | 46.42
Demetrius Pinder - 44.77 (2012) | 45.59
LaToy Williams - 44.73 (2009) | 45.58

From the vault of “Things That Could Never Happen in the United States,” I bring you a crowd of bank goers going absolutely bonkers for track and field. I don’t think everyone even knows what’s going on; they’re just jumping up and down and yelling.

If this happened stateside, I guarantee you that’d the SWAT team would be on the scene in no less than two minutes.


In recent years, the Bahamas 4x400-meter team has been perpetual party spoilers (to the Americans) and national heroes (to the Bahamans, obviously).

As I’ve already mentioned above, their electrifying final 50-meters at the 2012 Olympic Games and inadvertent-totally-not-their-fault-but-still hilarious handoff at the 2014 Penn Relays resulted in the small caribbean nation defeating the United States.

Bahamas abides by the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” thought process and have retained their Olympic champion team from two years ago.

At the Penn Relays, the winning relay of Michael Mathieu (45.7), Demetrius Pinder (44.7), Chris Brown (45.09), and Ramon Miller (45.32) showed that they still mean business.

Also, in what’s another case of ageless wonder, Chris Brown ran the Master’s 35-year-old 400-meter record this indoor season with a mark of 45.58. I hope I ran run 200-meters in that same time when I’m 35-years-old.

Similar to the United States, the Bahamas are rounding into fine form. With no more major relay championships this summer, they look to avenge a poor performance from Moscow 2013, where the team of  Chris Brown, Wesley Neymour, LaToy Williams, and O’Jay Ferguson didn’t even make the final.

Even though they had the Bahamas title scrawled across their chest, don’t mistake that team for the team that’ll be competing for gold on their home soil. Home-field advantage is a real thing.

---

JAMAICA - National Record - 2:56.75 | Season Best - 3:03.69 i
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Javere Bell - 45.08 (2013) | 46.72
Chumaine Fitten - 46.06 (2014) | N/A
Dane Hyatt - 44.83 (2012) | 45.70
Omar Johnson - 45.42 (2014) | 45.42
Rusheen McDonald - 45.10 (2012) | 45.29
Edino Steele - 45.38 (2012) | 45.44

Don’t let their 3:04.99 finish at the 2014 Penn Relays fool you. Of the team we saw in Philadelphia, only one member will be making the trip to Nassau, Bahamas--Chumaine Fitten, who split 45.45 on the third leg.

That gives Jamaica, who were the 2013 World Outdoor silver medalists, five legs that have run 45.mid this season. That’s not too shabby.

---
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - National Record - 2:59.40 | Season Best - 3:06.02
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Machel Cedenio - 45.23 (2014) | 45.23
Lalonde Gordon - 44.52 (2012) | 44.91
Zwede Hewitt - 45.51 (2011) | 46.54
Renny Quow - 44.53 (2009) | 45.36
Jereem Richards - 46.15 (2014) | 46.15
Jarrin Solomon - 45.19 (2013) | 46.27

They may not have Texas A&M’s number two in the world Deon Lendore, but Trinidad and Tobago should still be in the hunt. With Machel Cedenio at his all-time best and Lalonde Gordon potentially on the anchor, anything can happen.

In the interest of giving the rest of the world some love, here’s a complete cheat sheet for the Men’s 4x400-meter relay.

AUSTRALIA 2:59.70 3:13.29
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Alexander Beck - 46.07 (2012) | 46.33
Craig Burns - 46.21 (2014) | 46.21
Alexander Carew - 46.63 (2011) | 47.53
Dylan Grant - 45.69 (2008) | 46.57
Jake Hammond - 47.96 (2008) | N/A *mainly a 100/200 guy
Joshua Ralph - 46.34 (2013) | 46.63 *mainly 800m (1:45.80 PR 2014)

BELGIUM 2:59.37
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Jonathan Borlee - 44.43 (2012) | N/A
Kévin Borlee - 44.56 (2012) | N/A
Dylan Borlee - 45.80 (2013) | 47.70
Tim Rummens - 46.93 (2012) | N/A (400mH)
Julien Watrin - 47.36 (2013) | 47.57

BRAZIL 2:58.56 3:03.32
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Wagner Cardoso - 45.80 (2013) | 46.16
Jonathan Da Silva - 46.04 (2013) | 46.37
Pedro Luiz De Oliveira - 45.52 (2012) | 46.88
Hugo De Sousa - 45.09 (2014) | 45.09
Anderson Henriques - 44.95 (2013) | 45.03

Penn Relays Finish - 3:03.32
Pedro De Oliveira, Wagner Cardoso, Anderson Henriques (46.77), Hugo De Sousa (44.14)

CANADA 3:02.64
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Daundre Barnaby - 45.47 (2013) | 45.92
Daniel Harper - 45.60 (2012) - 47.18
Tremaine Harris - 46.22 (2011) | N/A
Philip Osei - 45.51A (2012) | 47.96
Michael Robertson - 46.32 (2013) | 47.29

CUBA 2:59.13 3:04.86
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Raidel Acea - 45.90 (2013) | 46.45
Adrian Chacon - 46.97 (2010) | 47.22
William Collazo - 44.93 (2009)  46.44
Yoandys Lescay - 45.29 (2013) | 46.27

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 3:00.44
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Gustavo Cuesta - 45.45A (2013) | 46.18
Joel Mejia - 46.32A (2012) | N/A
Juander Santos - 46.51 (2014) | 46.51
Luguelín Santos - 44.45 (2012) | 44.53 *2012 2nd 2013 3rd
Yon Soriano - 46.32 (2009) | N/A

FRANCE 2:58.96
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Mame-Ibra Anne - 45.73 (2013) | 45.96
Yannick Fonsat - 45.30 (2012) | 47.61
Thomas Jordier - 46.21 (2013) | N/A
Patrice Maurice - 46.46 (2014) | 46.46
Teddy Venel - 45.54 (2008) | 46.44

GREAT BRITAIN & N.I. 2:56.60 3:03.49 i
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Daniel Awde - 45.96 (2014) | 45.96
Michael Bingham - 44.74 (2009) | 45.49
Jamie Bowie - 46.06 (2013) | 46.55
Nigel Levine - 45.11 (2012) | 46.20
Martyn Rooney - 44.60 (2008) | 45.56
Conrad Williams - 45.08 (2012) | 46.18

JAPAN 3:00.76 3:12.63 i
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Kenji Fujimitsu - 46.80 (2009) | N/A
Yusuke Ishitzuka - 45.87 (2013) | 45.98
Yuzo Kanemaru - 45.16 (2009) | 45.46
Shinji Takahira - 46.01 (2003) | N/A
Kazuya Watanabe - 45.71 (2013) | 46.52
Kaisei Yui - 46.78 (2014) | 46.78 **18-years-old

KENYA 2:59.63
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Solomon Odongo Buoga - entered in the 4x8
Mark Kiprotich Mutai - 45.28A (2010) | N/A
Alexander Lerionka Sampao - 46.78 (2013) | N/A
Boniface Mucheru Tumuti - 47.10A (2010) | N/A

SAUDI ARABIA 3:02.30
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Abdullah Ahmed Abkar - 47.16 (2013) | N/A
Ahmed Yahya Al Khayri - 47.70 (2014) | 47.70
Mohamed Ali Al-Bishi - 46.71 (2013) | 47.46
Ali Al-Deraan - N/A? (Star Wars?)
Ismail M.H Alsabani - 45.74 (2009) | 46.15
Yousef Ahmed Masrahi - 44.61 (2013) | 44.77 *2nd in Doha

NIGERIA 2:58.68 3:05.05
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Omeiza John Akerele - 46.70 (2014) | 46.70 **18-years-old
Noah Akwu - 45.59 (2013) | 47.64
Orukpe Joseph Eraiyokan - Penn Relay 4x400 (2nd leg no split)
Cristian Morton
Tobi Ogunmola
Isah Salihu

Penn Relays Finish- 3:05.05
Isah Salihu, Orukpe Erayokan, Noah Akwu (46.29), Amaechi Morton (45.50)

POLAND 2:58.00 3:04.39 i
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Kacper Kozlowski - 45.24 (2010) | N/A
Lukasz Krawczuk - 46.13 (2013) | N/A
Jakub Krzewina - 46.51 (2011) | N/A
Marcin Marciniszyn - 45.27 (2011) | N/A
Rafal Omelko - 45.69 (2013) | N/A

PUERTO RICO 3:04.87
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Héctor Carrasquillo - 45.60 (2010 | 46.33 *banned for two years for norandrosterone
Javier Culson - 45.99 (2012) | N/A
Erik Gomez - 46.95 (2014) | 46.95
Carlos Rodriguez - 46.77 (2013) | 46.80
Wesley Vazquez - N/A *800m NR 1:44.64

RUSSIA 2:58.06 3:06.63 i
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Pavel Ivashko - 45.81 (2013) | N/A
Radel Kashefrazov - 46.44 (2013) | N/A
Sergey Petukhov - 45.97 (2013) | N/A
Yuriy Trambovetsky - 46.24 (2011) | N/A
Pavel Trenikhin - 45.00 (2012) | N/A

VENEZUELA RELAY 3:00.82 3:04.17
Name // Personal Best // Season Best
Alberth Bravo - 45.61 (2012) | 46.56
José Melendez - 45.82 (2013) | 46.72
Freddy Mezones - 45.55 (2014) | 45.55
Arturo Ramirez - 45.84 (2012) | 46.44