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Fred Kerley took a lot of heat for his performance on the American 4×100-meter relay team that finished sixth in Thursday’s qualifying round, missing the final in dramatic fashion.
His failed handoff on the second leg to Ronnie Baker – first, Baker grabbed Kerley’s jersey, before whiffing and nearly colliding – was the biggest reason for the surprising result. A day later, he appeared to be fed up with the backlash.
“Internet coaches,” Kerley wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon. “Couch sitters and people that would never make a NCAA, why are you talking? Bless y’all heart.”
It has been over 20 years since Team USA has won a gold medal in the relay. This has prompted criticism from many – not just internet commenters, but also Olympic legends.
“The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay,” nine-time Olympic gold medalist 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.”
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Kerley, a 26-year-old Texas native, has a Tokyo Olympic medal to his name, winning silver in the men’s 100 meter final earlier in the week. He ran a personal best of 9.84 seconds in the final to finish second behind gold medal-winning Italian Lamont Marcell Jacobs.
Kerley did have more practice for the individual event. The relay team did not have much time to prepare due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Trying to time that up perfectly with a couple of practices is a little difficult, but it is what it is,” Baker said when asked about the team’s failure.
“We just didn’t get the job done today. That’s all,” Kerley said after the race.
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