SOPOT, Poland – Perhaps people know Calvin Smith Jr, and even then likely because his father was a famous runner a generation back. And David Verburg ran on the 4x400 world outdoor gold medal team last year.
But Kyle Clemons? Kind Butler III?
Like so many on this U.S. team at the world indoor championships which was low on glamor yet deep in talent, they produced beyond expectations on Sunday and now have a 4x400 indoor world record to show for it.
When everyone expected the three-day event to peter out without a world record, suddenly this quartet made a name for each and every one on the team.
“These are moments you really have to cherish,” Butler said. “We are never going to be here again.”
The four sprinters got the baton around in a time of 3 minutes, 2.13 seconds, slashing .70 off the 15-year-old indoor mark set by another U.S. relay team at the 1999 world indoors.
Britain won silver and Jamaica took bronze.
“The combination of these guys is amazing. They brought it out of me,” said Clemons, who already took bronze in the individual 400.
The record gave the U.S. team eight gold and 12 medals overall, more than double the total of runner-up Russia, which had three gold and five overall.
One of those medals, a silver, went to former Washington State star Bernard Lagat, second in the men’s 3,000 meters to Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku who won in 7:54.94. Lagat’s time was 7:55.22. Lagat, 39, became the oldest man ever to win a medal at the World Indoors, as he added a silver to the three gold he already had.
The first U.S. gold Sunday came in the women’s 800, where Chanelle Price did all the frontrunning, winning in 2:00.09.
Then the 4x400 women’s team led from start to finish to easily win the relay in 3:24.83 over Jamaica and Britain.
And in the wide-open 60 hurdles, Omo Osaghae dipped at the line to beat two Frenchmen in a world-leading 7.45. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde was .01 back and Garfield Darien a further .01 second in a tight finish.
In Sunday’s top individual race, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce kept the 60-meter title in Jamaica with the fastest run by anyone in four years. The double Olympic 100 champion finish in 6.98 seconds, beating Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast by .03 seconds.