'Right' mix key to Olympic relay victories

July 23, 2016
United States' Ryan Bailey (left) and Jamaica's Usain Bolt (second right), power ahead after receiving the batons from their team members in the men's 4x100 metre relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, on Saturday, August 11, 2012. (AP Photo)

'Right' mix key to Olympic relay victories

Jamaica's opponents will be under scrutiny as Olympic relay competition approaches in Rio de Janeiro. That's the word from Maurice Wilson, Jamaica's athletics technical leader in Rio.

That analysis, he believes, will help in the composition of the right mix for the 4x100m and 4x400m events.

Reflecting on the surprising relay line-ups used by Jamaica at last year's World Championships, Wilson chuckled, "Well, you know, the tricks are good when they work."

The innovations included the use of 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200-metre champion Veronica Campbell-Brown on the first leg of the 4x100-metre final.

right decision

Speaking on the day before the departure of locally based Olympic team members for Rio on July 22, Wilson said, "We really have to look at our opponents and most times, especially for the relays, we think about times, how fast we can run and try to put the right mix together, the right blend, and once we get the cooperation of the athletes, most times, the coaching staff, they normally make the right decision."

At the World Championships, Jamaica won three of the four relay events and the country's men are the reigning Olympic champions in the 4x100 metres.

According to Wilson, relay practice sessions are already pencilled into the team's pre-Olympic camp schedule.

"It's just a matter of facilitating the other coaches' training schedule but we have always tried, irrespective of the comments we may hear, to facilitate the coaches' schedule in relation to preparing their athletes or on an individual basis for individual events," he said.

The Olympic coaching staff, led by Wilson, includes sprint guru Glen Mills, who was technical leader at the 2008 Olympics before he moved to focus on private coaching. The other coaches named are Michael Clarke, Fitz Coleman, Julian Robinson and Paul Francis.

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