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The United States' men continue to struggle at the Olympics as they were shut out of the medals in the men's 400 meters. Despite heading into the Games with the fastest man in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters, Team USA will leave with no gold medals in those events.
In the men's 400 meter final on Thursday night, Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas took gold in a season's best of 43.85. The 2019 world champion now also can boast the Olympic title. This is his second Olympic medal after earning a bronze in the men's 4x400-meter relay at the 2016 Olympics.
"At my first Olympics, I didn't make the final but I think here in Tokyo I did what needed to be done," Gardiner said. "I was so excited about making the final and tonight I am the Olympic champion. It is unreal. I don't think I will sleep tonight. It will all sink in at the medal ceremony."
Colombia's Anthony Jose Zambrano finished second in 44.08 for silver. 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Kirani James of Granada flashed a resurgence of speed and earned bronze in 44.19 to complete his medal set.
Michael Cherry was the top American in fourth place with a personal-best of 44.21. U.S. Olympic Trials champion Michael Norman, whose personal-best of 43.45 made him the fastest man in the world since the last Olympic final, was fifth in 44.31.
"This is the Olympics," Cherry said afterward. "If you can come out here and compete, you’re blessed. If you can come back with a medal, you’re blessed. Nobody is blaming anyone. We have a very young team, you are used to seeing (Justin) Gatlin, LaShawn (Merritt), but now you have a changing of the guard...We are a pretty young team, we will dominate soon. Everyone just has to grow up and adjust. Everyone is doing a great job, no one is mad, we think it’s OK."
With the exception of the 1980 Olympics boycott, this marks just the third time in history (1908, 1920 and 2012) that the United States has missed the medals in an event they traditionally dominate. The U.S. has 38 Olympic medals in the men's 400 meters, including 19 gold.
United States track and field athletes have earned 20 medals in Tokyo with five gold, 11 silvers and four bronze. In the 100 meters, Fred Kerley secured a silver medal. The United States went 2-3-4 in the 200 meters with Kenny Bednarek and Noah Lyles taking silver and bronze behind Canada's Andre De Grasse. However, the United States men have not contributed one gold on the track yet.
Few opportunities remain. With strong East African runners in the men's 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and marathon, those gold medal chances are slim for Team USA. Cherry and Norman will have a chance at redemption when they run in the men's 4x400 meter relay.
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