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World Champs Women’s 4×4 — Super Bol Anchor Takes It

World Champs Women’s 4x4 — Super Bol Anchor Takes It

Femke Bol was all smiles after lifting the Netherlands to its first 4×4 gold over the last 200 of her leg. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE MORAL OF the women’s 4 x 400 was that success can turn to failure — and vice versa — very, very quickly.

On Budapest23’s opening day, in the mixed 4×4, Netherlands anchor Femke Bol felt the pressure of hard-charging American Alexis Holmes, lost her balance, and crashed to the track just shy of the finish. Holmes got gold and glory, Bol lost the baton and got a DNF.

Their fortunes reversed in the all-women’s version.

In the heats, Holmes broke a basic sports rule: keep your eye on the ball until it’s in your hands. The same applies to batons. She turned her head before taking possession (and stepped on the rail), and by the time she finally secured the pass from Quanera Hayes, she was beyond the zone and DQed.

Bol, by contrast, got “revenge.” That’s what she said she wanted after the mixed debacle. She got it individually by winning the 400H on Thursday, but also revenge specifically against the 4×4 with possibly the most dramatic anchor in WC history.

At almost precisely the same spot where her face had bounced off the track 8 days earlier, she swept past Jamaica’s Stacey Ann Williams to lead the Dutch to a 3:20.72 world lead and No. 9 all-time among nations. Jamaica placed 2nd in 3:20.88 with Great Britain 3rd in 3:21.04.

Once the result flashed on the scoreboard, Bol collapsed to the track in joy, joined by her teammates and then by the Netherlands men’s 4×4, which had finished 6th about 10 minutes earlier.

Leg 1: Candice McLeod, with a 50.75 lap, made Jamaica the first obvious leader as she made up the stagger on the Netherlands coming off the curve into the homestraight. She handed off just a shade sooner than Great Britain (Laviai Nielsen 50.94) and substantially ahead of Belgium and Netherlands.

Leg 2: Coming off the break, Jamaica’s Janieve Russell held about a 4-meter lead over Britain’s Amber Anning. A hard surge by Aiyanna Stiverne pushed Canada briefly into 3rd, another 2m behind, with the Netherlands’ Lieke Klaver a meter further back. However, Klaver quickly brought the Dutch back into the medal hunt, swinging around Canada on the curve. Russell (49.99) faded hard down the straight and Anning (49.82) and Klaver (48.71, the fastest split of the meet) both pounced, drawing almost level at the exchange.

Leg 3: Being on the inside favored Jamaica’s Nickisha Price…

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