With the gold, Bolt completed an unprecedented triple-triple - three gold medals (in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 relay) in three consecutive Olympics. Bolt looked at the clock - same as he did when he finished the 200-meter victory the night before.
The Americans, who needed to set a qualifying time in a solo rerun hours after dropping the baton in the preliminaries and getting a second chance on protest, won Friday's final in 41.01 seconds. The only difference this time was the relay baton in his outstretched right arm.
His ninth gold medal drew him level with Paavo Nurmi, the Finn who dominated distance running in the early 20th century, and American sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis as the most successful Olympic track and field athletes.
"There you go, I am the greatest", Bolt told reporters.
The American men, who have had chronic problems handling the baton in this event in recent Olympics, finished third.
Felix had been bumped in the preliminary heats and lost the baton, but the USA team protested and got a second chance - a solo re-run that allowed them to qualify on times. The Jamaicans won the 2012 Olympic gold medal in 36.84 seconds, a world-record time. From left, Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie ran a time of 41.01, the second-fastest ever.
American Tyson Gay, who made his Olympic debut in 2008 as Bolt began his astonishing medal sweep, described the Jamaican's greatness as "just self-explanatory".
Estelle Mossely made history on her 24th birthday by becoming the first woman to claim an Olympic boxing gold for France, while her fiance Tony Yoka reached the men's super heavyweight final. That led to the re-run, and the Americans qualified fastest, taking the place of China in the final. They dropped the baton in their heat and appeared to be out of the competition.
"And they did exactly that, I had no work to do, just to run to the line". They did it again on Friday night with the other seven teams present, easily defeating a Jamaican team that was loaded with sprinters who have won individual sprints in Rio and in previous games.
Racing in the final Olympic race of his decorated career, Bolt ran the anchor leg to lead Jamaica to the 4x100m gold medal Friday night in Rio.
Greece's Stefanidi takes first in women's pole vault: Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece has won the gold medal in the women's pole vault with a mark of 4.85 meters. This is her fourth Olympics.
The U.S. quartet of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie led nearly the whole way and celebrated their win with the large contingent of Americans in the stands.
Cheruiyot sets Olympic record in 5,000 meter victory: Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya won the women's 5,000 meters gold in Rio after overtaking Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia and setting an Olympic record of 14 minutes, 26.17 seconds.