Asafa Powell's absence cost Jamaica a faster 4x100m world record in 2012, suggests Gatlin

By Sports Desk April 22, 2024

In a recent episode of the Ready, Set, Go podcast, American sprint legend Justin Gatlin delved into the hypotheticals of Jamaica's historic 4x100m relay run at the London 2012 Olympics, suggesting that the world record of 36.84 seconds could have been even faster had former world record holder Asafa Powell been part of the lineup.

Powell, renowned for his blistering speed having held the 100m world record at 9.77 and 9.74s, missed out on the opportunity to join the likes of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, and Usain Bolt in that record-breaking relay team due to a groin injury sustained during the final of the 100m.

Gatlin, reflecting on the potential of the Jamaican squad, speculated that adding Powell to the mix could have propelled them to an astonishing 36.5-second mark.

"Adding Asafa Powell to that already formidable lineup of Bolt, Blake, Carter, and Frater could have pushed the team to an even faster time," Gatlin remarked on his podcast. Powell's absence, while the team still delivered Olympic gold, left room for speculation on just how much quicker they could have been.

Gatlin, a seasoned sprinter himself, understands the unique pressure and responsibility that comes with relay events. "There is a difference between being an individual runner at the Olympics or world championships and being part of a relay team," he explained. "If you falter as an individual, it's on you; but in a relay, it's on the country's back."

Reflecting on the challenges of breaking a world record in relay events, Gatlin emphasized the need for everything to align perfectly. "36.8 is a gigantic order. 37 low is a tall order," he admitted. "Everyone needs to be in peak condition and ready to run."

Looking ahead to the future, Gatlin also weighed in on Team USA's chances of breaking the 12-year-long Jamaican 4x100m relay world record in 2024. "It's going to take a near-perfect performance from a team firing on all cylinders to surpass what Jamaica achieved in 2012," Gatlin predicted.

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