Vernon NorwoodJustin RobinsonRai BenjaminNewsTrack & Field

U.S. Men’s 4x400 Relay Team Blazes to Gold in World Leading Time

by Brian Pinelli

(L-R) Quincy Hall, Justin Robinson, Rai Benjamin and Vernon Norwood pose for a photo after winning the men's 4x400-meter relay finals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 27, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Getty Images) (Photo by Getty Images)

The U.S. foursome of Quincy Hall, Vernon Norwood, Justin Robinson and Rai Benjamin extended Team USA's 4x400-meter relay winning streak to five consecutive titles, combining world championships and Olympic Games.

Their winning time was a world leading 2:57.31, a substantial 1.44 seconds faster than their nearest challengers from France. The emphatic victory came in the penultimate race on the track during the final night of the World Atheltics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The versatile, 26-year-old Benjamin – who holds the second fastest time ever in the 400 hurdles – anchored the dominant relay victory, having received the baton from Robinson with a sizeable lead.

“It’s hard running out there in no man’s land, but I’m not complaining at all,” Benjamin told media, shortly after the team received their gold medals. “These guys knocked it out of the park in the first and second leg. The crowd went crazy and I thought I was getting run down, so I put on a little more gas.

“It feels great to win – I feel like that’s what we’re expected to do and coming out with this great group of guys. … Quincy popped it off, put it out there for us, Justin held that lead and expanded upon that a little bit, and overall, it was a great race.”

Hall – who won a bronze medal in the open 400 meters three nights ago – wasted no time getting the team off to a quick start. The 25-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, made up significant ground on the field, building the U.S. lead, accelerating around the third bend of the track. 

Hall then handed off the baton – with roughly a 10-meter gap ahead of their closest opponents from Great Britain – to his highly experienced, 31-year-old teammate Norwood. 

Norwood confidently keeping the Red, White, and Blue out in front, before passing to the third member of the squad, Robinson. Robinson – wearing dark shades – ran lights out, in front of the near full capacity crowd at the National Athletics Center.

With the team appearing to gain confidence stride-by-stride in the four-lap relay, Robinson handed the stick to Benjamin, who finished the job down the homestrech.

Quincy Hall competes during his leg of the men's 4x400-meter relay finals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 27, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

Norwood – who finished fourth, just .02 hundredths of a second behind his teammate Hall in the open 400 meters – celebrated a fourth world title in the relay event, having also been on victorious relay teams in 2022, 2019 and 2015.

The veteran U.S. athlete, who ran for Louisiana State University, offered insight into the team’s pre-race objectives.

“Raj and I talked about it all week – I told him, I’m going to try and make it as easy for him as we can,” Norwood said. “Quincy and I are going to put in the hard work to make it easier for Justin and Raj. 

“We dominated the first two legs to get us out in the open, get it clear because there has been a lot of chaos with the relays. We just wanted clean exchanges and dominate the race.”

Hall, the 2019 NCAA title holder in the 400-meter hurdles, while competing for the University of South Carolina, said he was proud to leave Hungary with two medals.

“It means a lot with all the hard work that I’ve put in,” Hall said. “I’ve been wasting time on the 400 hurdles – this was my first year running the 400 in five years, so I did pretty good.”

France set a national record while claiming silver behind the Americans. Great Britain took bronze with a season-best time. 

Team USA finished convincingly atop the overall medal table at the nine-day world championships, amassing 29 total medals, with a breakdown of 12 gold, 8 silver and 9 bronze, at the sport’s bi-annual marquee championships.

The 2025 World Athletics Championships will be held in Tokyo.