Bahamian Gardiner takes 400m gold; USA's Cherry, Norman miss podium

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 05: Steven Gardiner of Team Bahamas finishes ahead of Michael Cherry of Team United States and Michael Norman of Team United States to win the gold medal in the Men's 400m Final on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 05: Steven Gardiner of Team Bahamas finishes ahead of Michael Cherry of Team United States and Michael Norman of Team United States to win the gold medal in the Men's 400m Final on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

Reigning world champion Steven Gardiner captured 400m gold Thursday, winning the Bahamas its first individual men's Olympic medal on the track.

Gardiner was patience and surged through the homestretch to finish in 43.85. His runner-up in Doha, Colombian Anthony Zambrano, completed the repeat finish in Tokyo with silver in 44.08.

Grenada's Kirani James, the 2012 Olympic champion and silver medalist from Rio, earned bronze in 44.19 to give him an Olympic medal of every color.

The Americans – Michael Cherry and Michael Norman – finished off the podium in fourth and fifth, Cherry in a personal-best 44.21.

Norman led the field early with a blistering start out of lane eight, but by the 150m mark the others had caught up, and he was left behind on the homestretch.

Gardiner, who won silver at the 2017 World Championships, is originally from the Abaco Islands, the region hit hardest by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. His family made it through alive, but both his father and grandmother’s homes were severely damaged. After the storm, Gardiner, who lives and trains in Florida, flew his family there.

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