4 x 100 metres relay
The 4 × 100 metres relay or sprint relay is an athletics track event run in lanes over one lap of the track with four runners completing 100 meters each. The start is as for the 400m. A baton must be passed within a 20m changeover box marked by (usually yellow) lines 10 m before and after the start of each subsequent leg. The outgoing runner must not start behind an acceleration marker line 10m further back.
A successful baton change requires the outgoing runner to be at full speed and arms length ahead of the incoming runner so there is little room for error. Outgoing runners normally mark the track with chalk or tape 6 to 8 m behind the acceleration line and set off flat out when the incoming runner reaches this mark. When inside the changeover box they will hold their hand back, and it is the incoming runner's responsibility to pass the baton. Runners on legs 1 and 3 run on the inside of the lane with the baton in their right hand, runners on legs 2 and 4 take the baton in their left hand. Polished handovers can compensate for a lack of basic speed to some extent, and disqualification is common even at the highest level.
In the men's event, the United States have dominated this event, they were the first to run below 38 seconds. The men's world record stands at 37.40 seconds, set by the United States twice. The fastest anchor leg ever run is 8.84 seconds by Asafa Powell in 2007, though Bob Hayes was hand timed at 8.5 seconds in 1964. Carl Lewis ran the anchor leg on five U.S relay teams that broke the World Record from 1983-92, an achievement that may never be surpassed.
In the women's event, the US are currently the strongest team after years of East German domination. Evelyn Ashford ran on three consecutive Olympic gold medal winning teams 84/92, and in 1984 final ran an anchor leg of 9.99 seconds the fastest ever. The women's world record stands at 41.37 seconds, set by East Germany in 1985.
The 4x100 in Greece
- The men's outdoor record for the 4x100 is 38.61, achieved by the Greek national team on June 19, 1999. The athletes comprising that team were: Vasilis Segos, Alexios Alexopoulos, Giorgos Panagiotopoulos and Christoforos Choidis.
- The women's outdoor record is 43.07 held by the Greek national team and achieved in the Mediterranean Games on June 18, 1997. The athletes comprising that team were: Maria Tsioni, Ekaterini Koffa, Marina Varsamidou and Katerina Thanou.