Today’s Illustration: Transitions – A Team’s Failure

Who: Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker, and Cravon Gillespie

When:  2021 Summer Olympics

Where: Tokyo, Japan

What: U.S. Olympic Relay Race Team

  • “The top three teams in each of the two heats automatically qualified for the final, with the next two fastest advancing on time.”
  • “three of the fastest men in the world in the 100 meters this year.”
  • U.S. Olympic Relay Team fails to qualify for finals
  • “The U.S. men haven’t won the 4×100 at the Olympics since 2000.”

. . . . .

“As the Olympics wind to a close, let’s take a moment to appreciate the mystifying, nonsensical, prolonged ineptitude of the U.S. 4×100 relay teams. It is truly a wonder.

How difficult can it be for four sprinters to transport a 1.8-ounce metal cylinder around a track? High school teams do it with little problem. College teams — no sweat. But in the hands of Team USA, it’s like trying to carry an egg on a spoon in a three-legged sack race.

We were reminded of this earlier this week when the men’s 4×100 relay botched a handoff again. Yes, they aren’t able to practice together often, but neither are the other relay teams from other countries, and they all seem to pull off this wondrous feat rather easily.

. . . . 

This was a football coach taking a team to the Super Bowl and losing 99-0 because they were completely ill-prepared,” Olympic legend Carl Lewis told USA Today. “It’s unacceptable. It’s so disheartening to see this because it’s people’s lives. We’re just playing games with people’s lives. That’s why I’m so upset. It’s totally avoidable. And America is sitting there rooting for the United States, and then they have this clown show. I can’t take it anymore. It’s just unacceptable. It is not hard to do the relay. . . .

Lewis, who anchored two gold medal-winning 4×100 relays, criticized technical aspects of the relay, specifically the decision to run Baker on the third leg, which requires him to run on the turn, from 200 meters to 300 meters.

“I’ve never seen Ronnie Baker run a turn in my life,” said Lewis per USA Today. “Go back and watch the third leg, look at him, he looks like he’s running on ice because he’s never run a turn. He doesn’t run the (individual) 200, so why is he running a turn when he never runs a turn?

“We’ve been talking about this forever. The relay program has been a disaster for years because there’s no leadership and no system. When I said everything is wrong, it is. If you break it down, people were on the wrong legs, obviously they were not taught how to pass the baton in those legs. Just simple things like that. I watched it. I’m not blaming the athletes so much. This was leadership.” — deseret

. . . . 

One of the events of the Summer Olympics is the “Four Man Relay Race.”

“The  4X100m relay is an event where a relay team of four members each run a distance of 100m in a single designated lane.

During each leg run, the athlete has to carry a baton and hand it over to the next team member.

The baton exchange has to happen with a 20m changover box, located 10m before and 10m after the start of each leg, starting from the second relay runner

A tean can be disqualified if any member drps the baton dring the handover or if the handover occurs outside the designagted area.  The runner finishing the race will generally be thefaster sprinter in a team.” — olympics

. . . . .

  • 4 runners are in the race
  • 2 substitutes are allowed to be on the full team
  • 16 teams qualify
  • 8 teams qualify for the finals
  • 1st runner begins on starting block, and others begin in standing position
  • “At the “set” command, runners must have both hands and at least one knee touching the ground and both feet in the starting blocks. Their hands must be behind the starting line.”
  • a second “false start” results in disqualification
  • relay baton — 28-30cm long, 12-13cm circumference, at least 50 grams in weight
  • 100m each
  • 20m changeover box
  • The baton must not move outside of the 20m changeover box, while the runner is allowed.
  • no gloves are permitted
  • dropping the baton does not necessarily disqualified (as long as the recovery of the baton does not lessen the total running distance)
  • The winner’s “torso” must cross the finish line, not his head, arms, legs, or feet.

. . . . .

Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • faithfulness
  • finishers
  • generations
  • discipleship
  • evangelism
  • preaching
  • cloud of witnesses
  • teamwork/fellow laborers
  • commit thou to faithful men
  • parenting

. . . .

Sermonic Example: There are several distinct ways that one can use illustrative material.

(use whatever you find useful in the above details)

The foundational two elements for winning the Olympic Relay Race are teamwork and coordination!  The runners are already some of the fastest runners of the country they represent.  What makes the difference between the teams is the handoffs which take teamwork and coordination — working together in coordinated movement in that 20-meter box where a perfect handoff is needed.

Whether it be a family, an organization, the church, or discipleship — it is the handoff that takes place in a relatively small period of time — that will make the difference.  Bobble the handoff, and many times and some will not qualify for the finals in that area of life and living.

That can happen with parents, educators, discipleship, administrators.  That can happen doctrinally and/or morally.  That can happen in families, business, and churches . . . . .

. . . . .

Other Information & Links:

“There are also other types of relays — like sprint medley relatys (where each runner runs progressively longer distances like 200m, 400m,800 meters and so on), long-distance relays (which have more than five legs_ and cross-country relays.”
— Tokyo – 2021 – failed to make the finals
Another messy race costs U.S. men’s relay team
“The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay,” sprinting great Carl Lewis wrote on Twitter. “The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, and it was clear that there was no leadership. It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU kids I saw. . . .This marks the 10th time since 1995 they have given away a relay at a world championships or Olympics, either due to a disqualification, a dropped baton, a doping violation, or a faulty exchange, the likes of which led to the latest result.”

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