Anchor leg

Anchor leg

The anchor leg refers to the final position or 'leg' in a relay race. The fastest sprinter of a relay team is usually given the anchor leg, as they may "anchor" the efforts of the entire team of relay runners by making-up lost time from earlier runners. Athletes that as individuals perform well, can be exceptional relay runners whatever leg they take.

Case in point Pam Marshall at the 1987 World Athletics Championships in Rome ran the anchor leg for the USA team though she was by no means the fastest sprinter at the meet (she placed 8th in the 100m final). She beat Marlies Gohr in the 4x100m final with an Anchor leg timed at 10.11 secs to Gohr's 10.41.

Philip Brown a U.K 400m runner collected Olympic, World and European medals as the anchor leg runner for the national team however he never medalled individually, rarely advancing beyond the preliminary rounds of the 400M.

Great Anchor Leg Runners

Carl Lewis never failed to win a relay race when he 'anchored' the U.S team; he helped break the World Record in this event five times. The World record he helped set at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games of 37.40 seconds stood for 16 years. He regularly ran under nine seconds on his Anchor Leg runs.

Evelyn Ashford when anchoring the U.S sprint relay team at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games ran a reported 9.99 seconds, the fastest a women has ever run. The U.S team of Alice Brown, (first leg), Jeanette Bolden (second leg) and Chandra Cheeseborough (third leg) won the event by the biggest margin in the events history.

In 1988 at the Seoul Games she made up a three meter deficit on the Anchor Leg to Marlies Gohr and won the event by two.

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