U.S. women bounce back, defend gold in 4x100m

RIO DE JANEIRO — After controversy almost kept the United States women’s 4×100-meter relay team out of Friday’s final, the group instead was able to defend its Olympic title.

The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie finished first to win the gold medal, followed by Jamaica and Great Britain.

The Americans, who needed to set a qualifying time in a solo rerun hours after dropping the baton in the preliminaries and getting a second chance on protest, won Friday’s final in 41.01 seconds.

It was an impressive comeback after near disaster on Thursday, when Felix dropped the baton after being bumped by a Brazilian runner. That led to the rerun, and the Americans qualified fastest, taking the place of China in the final.

The gold is Felix’s fifth, the most of any U.S. female track star in history.

The Jamaican team featuring Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was second in 41.36. Britain won bronze in a national-record 41.77.

Felix ran the second leg for the Americans, the same section as 100- and 200-meter gold medalist Thompson, and passed to Gardner, who ran a powerful curve to give her team the lead.

Bowie ran the anchor leg and held off Fraser-Pryce as the Americans only narrowly missed the world record.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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