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Two runners, one baton; Bahamas beats U.S. after Penn Relays mishap

Penn Relays

Teammates make the handoff of a baton during a 4x100 race at the Penn Relays athletics meet, Friday, April 25, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Two runners took off with the same baton in the men’s 4x400m at the Penn Relays on Saturday, a flub that cost the U.S. a possible victory over the Olympic champion Bahamas.

USA Track and Field has video of the race here.

American David Verburg and Bahamian Chris Brown entered the final exchange in a close race for the lead, with Brown on the inside and Verburg on the outside.

However, their respective anchor-leg runners were in opposite positions. The U.S.’ Manteo Mitchell was on the inside, and the Bahamas’ Ramon Miller on the outside.

This caused confusion for the final exchange. Verburg tried to reach across Brown, and Brown tried to reach across Verburg, to pass their batons. One baton made it through the mess and, somehow, into hands of both Mitchell and Miller. The other baton remained in Verburg’s right hand.

By the time Mitchell let go of the Bahamas’ baton, stopped and received the U.S. baton from Verburg, Miller opened up an insurmountable lead. Mitchell nearly got pipped for second place by Brazil by the end of his lap and was visibly frustrated after crossing the finish.

Drake Relays highlight race decided by .005

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