By Amy Tennery
EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) -The United States collected their third successive women’s 4×400 metres relay world title in emphatic fashion on Sunday, finishing well clear in 3:17.79 ahead of Jamaica and Britain to close out the Eugene World Championships with a 13th home gold.
Talitha Diggs got the Americans off to a solid start and Abby Steiner edged further ahead of Jamaican Janieve Russell in the second leg a day after helping the United States win gold in the sprint relay.
Britton Wilson opened even more daylight before anchor Sydney McLaughlin, who shattered the 400m hurdles world record on Friday, brought it home for gold with a remarkable 47.91 final leg, finishing some 20 metres clear.
Jamaica finished far behind the United States in 3:20.74, while Britain crossed the line clear third in 3:22.64 as both nations continued their remarkably consistent podium performances over the last two decades.
Allyson Felix, the most decorated woman in track, did not run in the final but earned a 20th World Championship medal after making a surprise return in the preliminary round.
Earlier in the meet, Felix helped the U.S. to bronze in the mixed relay in what had been billed as her final global race before she retires this year.
The women’s relay was scheduled as the final track event instead of the men’s race for the first time in Eugene, where the host nation finished away and clear at the top of the medal table with 13 golds and a championship record 33 total medals.
“It’s a blessing to come here and compete. Just to close out with two golds for team USA, it’s awesome,” said Diggs. “I just wanted to give my team everything I had and it felt amazing.”
Wilson said: “It was definitely a different environment. The crowd was insane and I knew I had to put my best effort.”
McLaughlin, who has inherited Felix’s crown as the smoothest runner on the track, described the night as unreal. “We had such a young team. It was put together at the last minute and to see them all come together after such a long collegiate season, I am so grateful to be part of it.
“I am the oldest on the team,” said the 22-year-old. I am so proud. This is the next generation of team USA stepping up to the plate. No better way to end the meet.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon, additional reporting by Gene Cherry and Mitch Phillips; Editing by Peter Rutherford & Shri Navaratnam)