The 4 × 100 metres relay or sprint relay
It is an athletics track event run in lanes over one lap of the track with four runners completing 100 metres each. A relay baton is carried by each runner. Prior to 2018, the baton had to be passed within a 20 m changeover box, preceded by a 10-metre acceleration zone.
With a rule change effective November 1, 2017 that zone was modified to include the acceleration zone as part of the passing zone, making the entire zone 30 metres in length.
The outgoing runner cannot touch the baton until it has entered the zone, and the incoming runner cannot touch the baton after it has left the zone. The zone is usually marked in yellow.
Transfer of the baton in this race is typically blind. The outgoing runner reaches a straight arm backwards when they enter the changeover box, or when the incoming runner makes a verbal signal.
The outgoing runner does not look backwards, and it is the responsibility of the incoming runner to thrust the baton into the outstretched hand, and not let go until the outgoing runner takes hold of it without crossing the changeover box and to stop after the baton is exchanged.
Runners on the first and third legs typically run on the inside of the lane with the baton in their right hand, while runners on the second and fourth legs take the baton in their left.
Polished handovers can compensate for a lack of basic speed to some extent, and disqualification for dropping the baton or failing to transfer it within the box is common, even at the highest level.
Relay times are typically 2–3 seconds faster than the sum of best times of individual runners.
The United States men and women have dominated this event through the 20th century, winning the most Olympic gold medals and the most IAAF world championships.
Carl Lewis ran the anchor leg on U.S. relay teams that set six world records from 1983 to 1992, including the first team to break 38 seconds.
Source | World Ahletics
The current men’s world record stands at 36.84, set by the Jamaican team at the final of the 2012 London Olympic Games on 11 August 2012. As the only team to break 37 seconds to date, Jamaica has been the dominant team in the sport, winning two consecutive Olympic Gold Medals as well as four consecutive World Championships.
Source | World Athletics
The women’s world record stands at 40.82 seconds, set by the United States in 2012 at the London Olympics. The fastest anchor leg run by a woman is 9.67s by Christine Aaron of France.
According to the IAAF rules, world records in relays can only be set if all team members have the same nationality.
The 4 × 100 metres relay has been present on the summer Olympic athletics programme since 1912 and the women’s event has been continuously held since the 1928 Olympic Games. It is the most prestigious 4×100 m relay race at elite level.
The Olympic records for the event were both set at the 2012 Olympic Games in London: the Jamaican men’s team ran 36.84 seconds and the American women’s team won with 40.82 seconds, both of them world records. Reigning olympic champion is Italy in men’s category and Jamaica in women’s category.
Jamaica (Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt) 36.84 (2012)
United States (Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, Carmelita Jeter) 40.82 (2012)
- Jamaica (Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt) 36.84 (2012)
- United States (Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, Carmelita Jeter) 40.82 (2012)
World Championship records
- Jamaica (Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt) 37.04 (2011)
- Jamaica (Veronica Campbell-Brown, Natasha Morrison, Elaine Thompson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) 41.07 (2015)
Men | The Indian team of Suresh Sathya, Rahamatulla Molla, A. Qureshi & Shameer Mon, clocked 38.89 to set the national record at the 2010 CWG Delhi
Women | The team of Dhanalakshmi, Archana S, Dutee Chand & Hima Das hold the Indian record with a timing of 43.37, achieved at the IGP IV in 2021.