Team GB men’s 4×100 relay team agonisingly missed out on a gold medal by 0.01 seconds as Italy came from behind to overtake them on the line in Tokyo – to break British hearts once again after the Euro 2020 final.
The British quartet thought they had the gold when CJ Ujah, Zharnel Hughes and Richard Kilty put them in the lead at the final changeover, but Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was overtaken on the line by Italy’s Filippo Tortu.
The agonising result in the relay sees Italy get one over a British sporting team once again after they beat Gareth Southgate’s England side on penalties in last month’s European Championships final at Wembley.
Gold in the men’s 4x100m Olympic relay marks a wonderful summer of cultural success for Italy, which includes victory in the men’s 100m Olympic final, Euro 2020 final against England and the Eurovision song contest.
The Italian football team edged past the Three Lions on July 11 via a penalty shootout victory, after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed from 12 yards under the Wembley arch.
Italy also claimed the Eurovision title in May with Maneskin’s ‘Zitti e buoni’ rock hit, while the United Kingdom were left with null points with James Newman’s ‘Embers’.
Meanwhile, it is Italy’s fifth athletics medal of the Tokyo Games, a total which includes Lamont Marcell Jacobs’ shock men’s 100m gold from last week, in a final which saw Team GB sprinter Hughes disqualified due to a false start.
Italy also won the men’s 100m Olympic final through Lamont Marcell Jacobs +10
Jacobs’ win came after Team GB’s Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start +10
Italy also won the men’s 100m Olympic final through Lamont Marcell Jacobs (left) after Team GB’s Zharnell Hughes (right) was disqualified for a false start
After helping Britain to silver in Friday night’s relay, Hughes was caught making a reference to Italy’s fabulous and fortunate sporting summer before the British quartet’s post-race interview with BBC was about to start.
The 26-year-old said: ‘They’ve won Eurovision, they won the Euros, they won the 100m…’
Other social media users made fun of Britain using memes of Italy footballer Giorgio Chiellini pulling back England’s Bukayo Saka in the Euro 2020 photoshopped onto the men’s relay photo-finish snap.
The sprinter apologised for appearing ungrateful after the race when he appeared disappointed, with the sprinter smiling during the post-match interview.
He told the BBC: ‘Apologies if I seemed ungrateful at first, it’s just that we put a lot of work and effort into this and we truly believe that we’re the best quartet in the world and we want to display that when the time comes. This is not just for us, it’s for everybody back home.’
His relay team-mate Kilty immediately gave Mitchell-Blake a vote of confidence, adding: ‘This man ran an amazing leg. He looked a bit disappointed but this is a team.
‘He’s been part of the top three fastest teams that we’ve ever had in British history. This man’s a legend and he brought us home in incredible style.’
There were just a matter of inches between Tortu and Mitchell-Blake when the Italian crossed the line, while the British athlete, 27, was 0.19 seconds ahead of Canada, edged China to a bronze by 0.09 seconds.
Zharnel Hughes: “Is this the Euros?” 😅
Pipped to the line by Italy for the second time this summer. pic.twitter.com/Q7OZQMfdOb
— Tom Dutton (@TomDutty) August 6, 2021
Jamaica – in their first Olympic final since Usain Bolt retired – had to settle for fifth place having picked up golds in this race in the last two Games. Germany brought up the rear of the race after Ghana were disqualified and Japan did not finish.
The silver medal for Team GB men’s team can now be added to the gold and the silver Britain collected in the 2017 and 2019 world championships respectively.
Friday night’s race in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, meanwhile, came just 20 minutes after the women’s quartet claimed bronze in the Japanese capital.
A changeover issue between opening runners Asha Philip and Imani Lansiquot gave Team GB a lot of work to do before the returning Dina Asher-Smith propped up Daryll Neita into contention, who took Britain across the line in a comfortable third.