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Andre De Grasse of Canada and Joseph Amoah of Ghana compete in the men's 4x100 metres relay semi-finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Aug. 5, 2021.

PHIL NOBLE/Reuters

The United States failed to make the Olympic men’s 4x100 metres relay final after a ragged run saw them finish a shock sixth in their semi-final on Thursday.

The U.S. team featured two of the individual 100m finalists, Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker, the world leader Trayvon Bromell, and Cravon Gillespie, who also ran the heats en route to their 2019 world championship-winning team.

But despite the depth of talent on show, a shocking second changeover saw them lose all momentum and Gillespie was unable to run them back into contention in a mass finish, with China the surprise heat winners in 37.92.

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Canada were second, two thousandths of a second behind, and Italy, helped by newly-crowned individual champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, posted a national record 37.95 to also advance.

Jamaica led the way in the other semi, qualifying fastest in 37.82, ahead of Britain (38.02) and Japan (38.16)

After dominating the event for decades, a succession of disqualifications contributed to the United States not managing gold since 2000 and this is the latest setback in what has been a considerably below-par performance in Tokyo for the male side of the sport’s traditionally most powerful nation.

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