The inaugural IAAF World Relays had everything we’d hoped for and more: thrilling races, world records, amazing crowds and great drama. Here are six reasons why it was the best meet EVER.
1. Furiously fast
A two-day programme across two sessions of mainly finals made for a quick-fire spectacle with little time to draw breath. It provided everything that athletics, or indeed any sport, should: a constant stream of non-stop entertainment and drama.
The individual introduction each team got when entering the track – sauntering in from behind a curtain like prize fighters – and the instant medal ceremonies, were brilliantly choreographed.
In the red corner: Japan's 4x100m relay team get ready to rumble.
2. Blue is the colour
Colourful, passionate, knowledgeable, if you could create the prototype sports fan, they would be Bahamian. The noise inside the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium was never less than deafening. The spine-tingling three-minute long roar generated during the men’s 4x400m final will be remembered for years to come.
Chris Brown and Demetrius Pinder soak up the atmos after taking silver in the men's 4x400m for the Bahamas.
3. For the records
A precious and increasingly rare commodity in modern track, this event provided a bumper THREE world records. Admittedly, they may have been in relatively rarely run distances but, no matter, they were awe-inspiringly quick.
After both male and female Kenyan teams set WRs in the 4x1500m, the four Jamaican 4x200m lads covered two laps in 1:18.63 – equivalent to 9.83 per 100m!
Magic numbers: Kenya's 4x1500m women's team set one of three world records in Nassau
4. Rhythm and the dancers
Junkanoo, the unique Bahamian fusion art of dance and music may have been known to few visitors outside the stunning archipelago beforehand, but its rhythmic, upbeat sound provided the perfect accompaniment for the endurance relays.
Hellen Obiri, member of the triumphant Kenyan women’s 4x1500m, said the music inspired her en route to obliterating the world record with her team.
Island culture: Junkanoo was a big hit with athletes and visitors.
It’s the beauty of the relays: you can have the fastest team on paper, but in the end it all comes down to the changeovers. And boy did we see some disastrous baton drama.
The men’s US sprint relays messed up both their 4x100m and 4x200m, while the USA and Australia quite literally clashed in the women’s 4x1500m.
Kudos to Britain’s Nigel Levine, who after losing one of his spikes just after the changeover, ran the remaining 390 metres of the men’s 4x400m final with one shoe.
The one shoe: Great Britain's Nigel Levine hands over to Martyn Rooney.
6. TrackIsland BAH
Who wouldn’t like the Bahamas? The beautiful beaches, warm welcoming sea and friendly relaxed vibe make it the perfect location for athletes and visiting spectators alike.
So much so, many athletes were reluctant to leave the island of Nassau. In the world of 4x400m gold medallist DeeDee Trotter: “I don’t want to go home”.
Blue skies, palm trees and a brand new track provided the perfect setting.
It may have only been two days, but we absolutely loved the World Relays. The good news is, the event is back in the Bahamas next year. What a great incentive for athletes and fans to visit TrackIsland again in 2015.
I can only sing my praises to the Bahamians for putting on a great event! One of the best meets I've ever done, Im smitten with this island!— Martyn Rooney (@MartynRooney) May 26, 2014