Steven Gardiner grew to become the primary man to win a person Olympic gold for the Bahamas on Wednesday, powering to victory within the 400m to depart the Caribbean nation getting ready to a uncommon double.
The 25-year-old 2019 world champion stormed to the road in 43.85sec, with Colombia’s Anthony Jose Zambrano taking silver in 44.08sec.
Grenada’s Kirani James, the 2012 champion and 2016 silver medallist, took bronze in 44.19sec.
Gardiner’s victory prolonged his dominance of the one-lap occasion over the previous 4 years.
The Bahamian hasn’t misplaced a 400m race that he has accomplished since taking a silver medal behind South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk on the 2017 World Championships.
Leaving apart three races the place he didn’t end attributable to damage, Gardiner has been unbeaten in 20 of 23 begins since that 2017 loss.
Gardiner’s victory raises the prospect of an Olympic double for Bahamas on the 400m in Tokyo with 2016 gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo working within the girls’s last on Friday.
Although feminine athletes from Bahamas have gained particular person Olympic gold medals on three events earlier than, Gardiner is the primary man from the islands to win solo gold.
“It’s just amazing, surreal for the country,” Gardiner mentioned. “For myself, for me to be the one to have the ability to do it I’m simply so completely happy.
“It’s unreal. I don’t suppose I’ll sleep tonight and it’ll solely sink in on the medal ceremony.
“I will be here to watch Shaunae tomorrow night. I just want her to do what she did in 2016 so we can bring back double gold medals for the Bahamas.”
Gardiner’s gold medal was by no means actually unsure as he waited patiently earlier than surging easily into the lead off the ultimate bend.
Once in entrance there was solely going to be one winner and Gardiner, who didn’t even make the ultimate at Rio 5 years in the past, motored dwelling in his quickest time of 2021.
“It feels amazing. 2016 it was my first Olympic Games and it didn’t end so well, I didn’t even make the final,” Gardiner mentioned.
“But right here in Tokyo I feel I did what wanted to be completed. I used to be so excited simply to make the ultimate.
“And tonight I’m the Olympic champion in the 400m.”
But as Gardiner celebrated, there was disappointment for US hope Michael Norman, who set off rapidly earlier than fading down the house stretch and ultimately ending in fifth behind fourth-placed compatriot Michael Cherry.
It continued a disappointing Olympic marketing campaign for USA’s male observe athletes who’ve didn’t win a gold to date in Tokyo.
Cherry urged USA Track and Field’s resolution to cancel a pre-Olympic coaching camp in Japan attributable to considerations about Covid-19 might have performed an element within the medal shutout.
“We haven’t been here that long, we got here on short notice,” Cherry mentioned. “Every different group had coaching camp, however that’s no excuse.
“We are still expected to come out here and execute how we are supposed to, it’s just not happening right now.”