The United States athletics campaign suffered another setback on Thursday, with favorite Grant Holloway losing in the 110m hurdles and his men’s 4x100m relay team failing to qualify for the finals.
The Americans had some time to shoot with 1-2, with Ryan Cruiser successfully defending his title and world champion Joe Kovac winning silver as he did in Rio in 2016.
But the men’s triple jump was more frustrating.
Will Clay – eventually a favorite to win a gold medal after a two-time runner-up in the Olympic final – behind Christian Taylor, who missed Tokyo due to injury – came in fourth.
Instead, the gold went to Cuban-born Pedro Pichardo of Portugal, who showed Kelly how to convert minor medals into gold, having previously won two world silver medals representing Cuba.
He came to the United States with high hopes of dominating the track and field, but so far he has won only four titles and lost the 100/200 meter sprint title.
His women’s 100m and 200m sex won just one bronze – Gabby Thomas in the 200m – while the men won two silver and one bronze in the 100m and 200m.
Holloway was only careful to lead the final hurdle through the Jamaican Hansley Parchment until the final hurdle was completed.
Holloway represented a different and more competitive stage in the final of the World Championships – which he won in 2019 in Doha.
“I just think the nerves, the big environment made me a little better,” Holloway said.
“But I’m young (he’s 23), I’ve got a lot of running under my belt so I’ll take it with a grain of salt and I’ll keep moving.
“It wasn’t the result I wanted, but it makes me want to say I’m an Olympic medalist.”
Only Fred Karley of the Relay Quartet will be able to leave Tokyo by claiming that he is an Olympic medalist who won a silver medal in the 100m individual event.
The American quartet of Trevon Brommel, Carlyle, Ronnie Baker and Creon Gillespie finished sixth in 38.10 seconds, with US sprinter Carl Lewis calling a performance a “complete embarrassment”.
Although the United States has suffered numerous setbacks over the years, it was marked for the first time on Thursday by an American 4x100m squad that failed to make it to the Olympic finals in full heat.
Kerley was strict in her assessment of his performance.
“We have not completed the work today,” he said.
Britain’s performance on the track has also been very disappointing.
Her 200-year-old world champion Dina Asher Smith competed in the 200-meter race earlier in the week due to a hamstring problem, but on Thursday she was fit enough to run a 4×100-meter relay hat at high speed.
The British quadruple won the heat and set a new national record of 41.55 seconds.
However, although both the United States and Jamaica were behind them, neither team fired their big guns.
Asher Smith revealed after being knocked out in the 100m semi-finals that she was running with an injured hamstring.
However, he said he was determined to stand in the relay after Thursday’s race.
“After 100 meters, I said there was no way I’m not going here for the girls in the 4×100 meter relay,” said Asher Smith.
“I’m training really hard this week, I only had one day off.
“It’s just one of the things where I’m chasing time and I need a few more sessions and I’ll be closer to where I’m used to.”
Canada’s Damien Warner topped the decathlon and Belgium’s Nafisato Tham topped the hepatathlon in the multi-disciplinary event, both of which reached a conclusion on Thursday evening.