London, England – The Bahamas claimed its first gold in the men's 1,600-meter relay, beating a short-handed United States team with a national record time.
The Bahamas, winner of the silver medal behind the U.S. four years ago in Beijing, trailed heading into the fourth and final leg, but Ramon Miller ran down American Angelo Taylor for the gold. Miller crossed the finish line at 2 minutes, 56.72 seconds to beat the U.S. team by 0.33 seconds.
"The U.S. guys know we've been just behind them or thereabouts for a long time," said Miller. "It's amazing we are finally taking home the gold."
The gold medal is the fifth for the Bahamas in its Olympic history. Four of those golds have come in track and field events.
Trinidad and Tobago posted a time of 2:59.40 for the bronze.
Also, running in the anchor leg for the South African team was double amputee Oscar Pistorius, who earlier at these games became the first man to compete in both the Summer and Paralympic Games when he made it to the semifinals of the 400m.
Pistorius, who runs with the help of carbon fiber artificial legs, was trying to become the first person to win medals at both the Summer and Paralympic Games, but his team was way behind by the time he received the baton and they finished eighth.
"It's always an honor to be the anchor. It has been incredible to be here," said Pistorius. "Just to participate has been great and now I am really looking forward to the Paralympics. I think they will be the best ever."
The American team ran the final race without three of the six men brought to London as part of the relay pool. On Friday, the four-man team consisted of Taylor, Bryshon Nellum, Joshua Mance and Tony McQuay.
LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner and Manteo Mitchell all had to sit out the 1,600 relay with injuries. Merritt and Wariner have won Olympic golds in the individual 400, but the former pulled up with a hamstring injury in qualifying for that event in London and Wariner learned earlier this week that he had a torn hamstring.
Mitchell, meanwhile, ran the opening leg of qualifying heats on Thursday, but broke his leg midway through his run and somehow still managed to finish. Despite the serious injury suffered by Mitchell, he still ran his portion of the race in 46.1 seconds, helping the U.S. tie the Bahamas for the fastest time in the heat.
"We took a hit this year with the injuries, but we are bringing a medal home and we are thankful for that."
Taylor is a two-time gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles and also won gold as part of the 1,600 relay team in Beijing. The 33-year-old finished fifth in his hurdles event here in London and was not expected to run in the relay.
He had a sizeable lead on Friday after taking the final handoff from McQuay, but Miller made up the gap quickly and grabbed the lead on the final stretch.
"It was tough," said Taylor. "I thought I could get home but it was exceptionally close."
The Americans were trying for their third consecutive gold medal in this event and their 17th title in 23 Olympics.
This marks just the third time since Kenya won the relay in 1972 that the U.S. did not take gold in the event. The Americans did not win in 1980 because they boycotted the Moscow Games and were stripped of their gold from the 2000 Sydney Games because of doping infractions.