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All four U.S. relay teams have a strong chance of winning gold in London, but both the men’s and women’s 4x100-meter relay will face very stiff competition from Jamaica, while Russia is the favorite in the women’s 4x400-meter relay. On the men’s side, however, U.S. is looking good for gold in the 4x400.
The U.S. 4x400 team will be led by LaShawn Merritt, who has run the world’s two fastest 400-meter dash times this season, and Tony McQuay, who has run three of the world’s eight fastest times. They are likely to be joined by Bryshon Nellum and Josh Mance, both of whom rank within the top 10 runners in the distance this season.
The U.S. boasts two of the three fastest 400 runners in the world this season, while the only team to have two 400 runners with faster times than Nellum and Mance is Belgium, which does not have another runner who has broken 46 seconds this season aside from twin brothers Kevin and Jonathan Borlee.
The one potential snag in the United States’ run to gold in the 4x400 could be the health of Merritt, who injured his hamstring at the Monaco Diamond League meet on July 20, as reported by the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
Even without Merritt, the U.S. team could likely still win this race with a fill-in, which would likely be either Manteo Mitchell or Jeremy Wariner.
That said, Merritt told the AP that he expects to be fully fit for the Games, and as long as he is healthy, there should be no stopping Team USA in the men’s 4x400.
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Dan Hope is an NFL draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and also a member of B/R’s 2012 Olympics Coverage Team. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Hope.