Nassau - A US team led by Justin Gatlin rained on Usain Bolt's parade in the 4x100m at the World Relays on Saturday as the US team wrapped up three of the four titles on offer, one in world record time.
Bolt was one of the big names to have missed the inaugural edition of the IAAF's gamble at an innovative track event, but his bid to add to his accolades in front of a raucous crowd in the capital of the Bahamas fell two metres short.
Snatching the baton from team-mate Nickel Ashmeade, Bolt powered down the home stretch of the Thomas A. Robinson stadium, but was unable to catch Ryan Bailey and add to his three world and two Olympic relay golds.
Instead, Bailey led the US quartet also comprising Mike Rodgers, Gatlin and Tyson Gay - all of whom have served doping bans ranging from nine months to four years, home in 37.38 seconds, with Jamaica finishing 0.30 behind and Japan claiming bronze.
Rapturous applause welcomed Bolt, who acquired his 'Lightning Bolt' nickname when setting three records at Under-17 level at the CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas in 2002, to the blue track.
The inevitable lingering television close-ups relayed on to the big screen showed him preening his hair, waving and returning the applause.
But it was not to be on a warm, windy night, Gatlin's second-leg strait setting up a comprehensive US win.
"The US came out well prepared, they matched their national record," said Bolt. "It makes it more exciting going into the world championships (in Beijing in August).
"I'm not totally surprised. We're not in the best shape as a team, and personally I know I'm not in the best form that I can be. I have three months to work on that.
"But I came here to run so that's the best... I take every loss as a learning curve."
Gatlin said he was delighted to have got "to the finals and we did a great job".
"I'm always going to feel like I'm the person to beat. I want to set the bar for myself each year higher and higher," said the sprinter who topped both 100 and 200m standings in 2014.
"The only pressures is on myself. I'm not worried about what the next man's doing, I'm not worried about Usain. It's about who puts the best race together and we came out victorious."
In other finals, the US men's team claimed the 4x800m in 7:04.84, Robby Andrews holding off Kenyan Jeremiah Mutai on the final two laps.
"My team-mates put me in a great position and I hope I didn't make them too nervous out there!" Andrews said after his race played out to the beat of a military brass band synching with some high-stepping, day-glo carnival dancers.
Kenya initially placed second, but were later disqualified for "changing team composition and running order", Poland upgraded to silver, with Australia claiming bronze in a race in which only five nations competed.
Replacing last year's 4x1500m relay, the women's distance medley, featuring four runners competing over 1 200m, 400m, 800m and 1 600m - 10 laps making up 4km, was won by the United States.
Treniere Moser, four-time Olympic and five-time world gold medallist Sanya Richards-Ross, Ajee Wilson and Shannon Rowbury combined to clock 10:36.50, now recognised by the IAAF as the new world record in the rarely-run event.
But a US women's team featuring the most successful woman in relay history in Allyson Felix were trumped by Nigeria in the 4x200m.
Jeneba Tarmoh's handover to Felix went awry and Christy Udoh steamed past as the Nigerians timed 1:30.52 for gold ahead of Jamaica and Germany.
Results from the first day of the IAAF World Relays in Nassau on Saturday:
1. United States (Michael Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey) 37.38sec, 2. Jamaica 37.68, 3. Japan 38.20
United States (Duane Solomon, Erik Sowinski, Casimir Loxsom, Robby
Andrews) 7min 04.84sec, 2. Poland 7:09.98, 3. Australia 7:16.30
Nigeria (Blessing Okagbare, Regina George, Dominique Duncan, Christy
Udoh) 1min 30.52sec, 2. Jamaica 1:31.73, 3. Germany 1:33.61
United States (Treniere Moser, Sanya Richards-Ross, Ajee Wilson,
Shannon Rowbury) 10min 36.50sec - world record, 2. Kenya 10:43.35, 3.