The Jamaicans were largely considered the favorites headed into the event. They not only boasted the fastest man in the world in Usain Bolt, they also had Yohan Blake, who captured the silver medals in the 100 meters and 200 meters behind Bolt this summer.
On the other hand, the Americans were no slouches, ranked second headed into the event. Their top two 100-meter sprinters, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, finished third and fourth, respectively in the 100 meters this summer.
The Americans had also combined to run the fastest time in Round 1 of the event this summer, setting a national record in the process (37.38 seconds).
Bolt combined with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell in the 2008 Beijing Olympics to capture gold in the event. Gay and the Americans failed to advance to the final that summer.
This was seen as the United States' chance at redemption after a disappointing 2008 campaign. Gatlin, who was serving a doping ban in 2008, said before the final against Jamaica, via the San Jose Mercury News:
They're definitely fast. They're definitely worthy opponents. I'm the kind of person that loves pressure. This is the level we have to reach, this is the level we have to achieve.
The U.S. men had a record 15 gold medals in the 4X100 meter relay headed into Saturday's final, but Jamaica and Great Britain had won the last two gold medals. The team of Jon Drummond, Bernard Williams, Brian Lewis and Maurice Greene captured gold for the United States in the event in 2000.
|Olympic Medal Tracker|
|United States Total: 99||42||28||29|
|China Total: 85||38||26||21|
|Russia Total: 77||21||25||31|
|Great Britain Total: 60 ||27||15||18|
|Germany Total: 43||10||19||14|
|Japan Total: 36||5||14||17|
|Australia Total: 35||7||16||12|
|France Total: 31||10||9||12|
|South Korea Total: 27||13||7||7|
|Italy Total: 21||7||6||8|
|Netherlands Total: 19||6||5||8|
|Canada Total: 18||1||5||12|
|Hungary Total: 16||8||4||4|
|Ukraine Total: 15||4||2||9|
|Spain Total: 15||3||9||3|
|New Zealand Total: 13||5||3||5|
|Brazil Total: 13||2||3||8|
|Belarus Total: 12||3||4||5|
|Iran Total: 10||4||5||1|
|Jamaica Total: 10||3||4||3|
|Cuba Total: 10||3||3||4|
|Poland Total: 10||2||2||6|
|Kazakhstan Total: 10||6||0||4|
|Romania Total: 9||2||5||2|
|Denmark Total: 9||2||4||3|
|Kenya Total: 8||2||3||3|
|Czech Republic Total: 8||2||3||3|
|Colombia Total: 8||1||3||4|
|Sweden Total: 7||1||3||3|
|Azerbaijan Total: 7||0||2||5|
|North Korea Total: 6||4||0||2|
|Ethiopia Total: 6||3||0||3|
|Mexico Total: 6||1||3||2|
|South Africa Total: 5||3||1||1|
|Turkey Total: 5||2||2||1|
|India Total: 5||0||1||4|
|Croatia Total: 4||2||1||1|
|Georgia Total: 4||1||2||1|
|Argentina Total: 4||1||1||2|
|Slovenia Total: 4||1||1||2|
|Ireland Total: 4||1||0||3|
|Slovakia Total: 4||0||1||3|
|Mongolia Total: 4||0||1||3|
|Switzerland Total: 3||2||1||0|
|Norway Total: 3||1||1||1|
|Tunisia Total: 3||1||1||1|
|Lithuania Total: 3||1||1||2|
|Belgium Total: 3||0||1||2|
|Armenia Total: 3||0||1|
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