Olympics: United States reclaim men's 4x400m title

LaShawn Merritt of USA crosses the finish line to win team USA the gold on Aug 20.
LaShawn Merritt of USA crosses the finish line to win team USA the gold on Aug 20.PHOTO: REUTERS
(From left) Arman Hall, Tony McQuay, Gil Roberts and LaShawn Merritt of USA celebrate winning the gold medal on Aug 20.
(From left) Arman Hall, Tony McQuay, Gil Roberts and LaShawn Merritt of USA celebrate winning the gold medal on Aug 20.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - LaShawn Merritt ran a blistering anchor leg to return the men's 4x400m title to the United States, and win his third Olympic gold medal, in the final athletics event of the Rio Games on Saturday.

The Americans have never gone more than two Games without winning the men's one-lap relay and after being upset by the Bahamas in London four years ago, were determined to secure the title for a record 17th time.

Arman Hall, Tony McQuay and Gil Roberts combined to give Merritt a two metre lead and the former 400m Olympic and world champion extended that to seven to win in 2min 57.30sec.

Javon Francis stormed down the final straight to give Jamaica silver in 2:58.16, while the Bahamas ran 2:58.49 to pip Belgium for bronze.