The Jamaican fans who filled Franklin Field's north bleachers fell quiet. An instant earlier they had waved their flags and cheered wildly, urging on the island's anchor in the men's 4x100-meter relay.
Saturday afternoon's finish was too close for the crowd to determine. The Jamaicans waited for the USA vs. the World results to post on the infield scoreboard. For the third-straight year, their spirits were crushed: The U.S. team edged Jamaica by just one-hundredth of a second.
Walter Dix, the American anchor, blazed the final stretch and passed Oshane Bailey just before finishing. The United States finished in 38.57 seconds, the Jamaicans at 38.58.
Dix said the only thing Bailey could do to win was "throw his body across the line." Justin Gatlin, who ran the United States' second leg, said the fans' reaction showed they knew who won.
"We were ready to run good," Gatlin said. "We wanted to make a statement."
American Charles Silmon and the other five relay starters crossed over the infield and onto the track just before the 1:05 p.m. start time. Instead of starting immediately - as the women had minutes earlier - the men had to wait.
The race was on live television. The network needed eight more minutes. Silmon sprinted forward and walked back to his spot. He smacked his thighs, kicked his starting block, and walked the other way. The wait finally over, Silmon crouched into position and the race began.
He wobbled around the first turn after a bump from the Nigerian runner. Silmon steadied himself and handed the baton to Gatlin. It was a near disaster, as the American chances almost disappeared after just one leg.
In the past, Gatlin said, they may have dropped the baton. But this team is cohesive, he said, and Gatlin trusted Silmon to complete the handoff.
"I still got out, put my hand out, and the stick was right there. I had to do my job," Gatlin said.
Gatlin recovered with a strong leg and passed the baton to Rakieem Salaam. Salaam handed off to Dix with the Americans slightly behind.
Dix said he feels confident after a long recovery from a hamstring injury that sidelined him before the 2012 Olympics. His feelings showed as he edged across the finish wearing his signature sunglasses.
The two-time Olympic medalist said he has been in enough close races to know that he had a step on the Jamaican finisher. Dix's instincts were correct. The Americans had made their statement, and the silenced Jamaican crowd knew, too.