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Sweet redemption for Canada

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Canada's 4x100-meter men's relay team shows off their bronze medal won at the World Athletics Championships.

ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Canada's 4x100-meter men's relay team shows off their bronze medal won at the World Athletics Championships.

MOSCOW -- Circumstance robbed Canada of a bronze medal one year ago at the London Games. On Sunday, the medal and a measure of vindication came back to the team.

Canada's men's relay team won bronze at the world track and field championships in the 4x100-metre race after Great Britain disqualified.

The victory helped provide some closure for Justyn Warner and Gavin Smellie, who were both on the relay team that lost a bronze medal to disqualification in 2012.

"I'm so ecstatic, especially thinking back to last year and what happened," said Smellie. "To come back and get bronze, I'm just so happy. We competed to the best of our ability and we leave here with a bronze medal.

"This isn't just for us, it's for everybody, we're going to take these medals home and show them to our families, share them with all of Canada."

Warner, from Markham, Ont., Dontae Richards-Kwok of Mississauga, Ont., and Toronto natives Smellie and Aaron Kingsley Brown finished third in 37.92 seconds behind first-place Jamaica (37.36) and the United States (37.66).

Great Britain was disqualified when race footage appeared to show the team complete their second baton exchange well outside the zone. Canada launched an appeal and won to move into third.

"This is huge, Great Britain are a great team, but I'm happy for us," said Warner. "Overwhelmed we did it, we put all the work together. I'm at a loss for words and just so happy. Rules are rules, we dealt with it last year. Canada again... is one of the top teams."

The bronze is Canada's fifth medal at the event, the most successful in the country's history at the world championships.

"We did it, to run what we ran and not be there the first time around was really hard to take," said Richards-Kwok. "We did everything we could. We really wanted to come out and get it done, and we did."

Usain Bolt meanwhile is perfect yet again, and with three gold medals in Moscow, the Jamaican great became the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the world championships.

The 4x100-metre relay gold erased the memories of the 100 title he missed out on in South Korea two years ago because of a false start. And, in combination with a similar 100-200-4x100 triple from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Bolt was instrumental in giving Jamaica the first ever sweep in those six sprint events.

Bolt was trailing American Justin Gatlin when he got the baton on the anchor leg, but a botched U.S. handover and his superlative speed were enough to see him, and his country, win.

He gritted his teeth, dipped at the line, and then grinned.

"I wasn't really worried about Justin. I knew if he got the baton in front of me, I could catch him," Bolt said. "So it was just going out there to run as fast as possible."

And when he does, nobody has stopped him when it mattered -- in a half decade, and counting.

"It's not just about the talent. It's about rising to the occasion. He understands what that means," Gatlin said.

Bolt had already won the 100 and 200 metres. It was his second such sprint triple at the world championships, matching the two he has won at the Olympics.

With his victory, Bolt moved to the top of the all-time world championships medals table with eight gold and two silver, edging Carl Lewis, who has eight gold, one silver and one bronze.

"It is just great," Bolt said of the comparison. "I'll continue dominating. I'll continue to work hard. For me, my aim is to continue hard into the greatness thing."

And again the Luzhniki Stadium and its 40,000 fans were turned into a Bolt party.

With palpable relief after a week of all-business during his earlier races, Bolt finally let go. His arms across his chest, he kicked his legs as he went down lower and lower to imitate a traditional eastern European dance to the delight of the crowd.

"I'm not even sure which country it's from. It just went along with the music, so I did it," Bolt said.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2013 0

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