Athletics: Lewis passes baton with relay victory

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The Independent Online
Carl Lewis said auf Wiedersehen at the end of a glorious international career by anchoring his dream team to victory in the Golden Four finale in Berlin last night.

The nine-times Olympic champion marked his last appearance in Europe before retirement with victory in the sprint relay.

Fittingly, the American's final race on the continent was in the Olympic stadium where Jesse Owens dominated the 1936 Olympics by winning four golds.

Lewis matched Owens' achievement in Los Angeles in 1984 and went on to win the long jump title for the fourth time in a row in Atlanta last year before deciding to bring his career to a close this season.

The 36-year-old bowed out a winner as the quartet that also included world 100m record-holder Donovan Bailey, former record-holder Leroy Burrell and Frank Fredericks won in 38.24.

The time was outside the official world record, of which Lewis has a share, but that was immaterial to the 60,000 crowd who gave Lewis a huge farewell.

Berlin, traditional provider of gold at the end of the rainbow for grand prix athletes, proved richly rewarding for three individuals.

Frank Fredericks, Hicham El Guerrouj and Gabriela Szabo shared a $200,000 (pounds 130,000) jackpot of gold bars after winning their events at all four of the Golden Four meets, in Oslo, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin.

Fredericks went past the Olympic champion, Donovan Bailey, in the final 20 metres of the 100m to win in 9.99sec despite a headwind.

Szabo, who took the 5,000m gold medal at the World Championships earlier this month, used her swift finish to win in 14min 44.35sec, leaving Britain's Paula Radcliffe a distant third. El Guerrouj burst away from Kenya's Daniel Komen, who broke the world 5,000m record in Brussels last Friday, to win the mile in 3min 45.65sec.

Komen retained his record, however, as Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie, looking jaded after his exploits this summer, failed to regain the mark by a wide margin.

Britain took the first three places in the 400m, with Iwan Thomas winning in 44.90sec, followed by Mark Richardson (45.30) and Roger Black (45.58).

Tony Jarrett beat his fellow Briton, the world 110m hurdles silver medallist Colin Jackson, for the eighth time in a row. However, the 29-year-old had to settle for second place as the American Mark Crear took advantage of the late withdrawal of the Olympic and world champion, Allen Johnson, to win in 13.11sec.

Jarrett clocked 13.35 with Jackson, unable to recapture his Athens form when he clocked 13.05 - his best time for three years - third in 13.36.

Dwain Chambers, Britain's second fastest sprinter of all time behind Linford Christie, continued his international education with fifth spot in a 'B' 100m in 10.33sec.