U.S. Gets Another Shot at Qualifying Relay Final After Allyson Felix Was Bumped by Brazilian Runner and Dropped Baton
Allyson Felix claims that another runner knocked her elbow just as she was about to hand the baton to her teammate
The U.S. women’s relay team will get another shot at qualifying for the 4×100 relay at the 2016 Olympics
The team was initially disqualified after the baton was dropped during the handoff between Allyson Felix and English Gardner.
After the race, Team USA filed a petition to protest the disqualification as Felix claimed that a Brazilian competitor in the next lane knocked her elbow just as she was about to hand the baton to teammate.
“I got bumped coming into the exchange zone,” Felix said, according to USA Today. “It just completely threw me off balance. I tried to pull it together to get it to English. Maybe if I had one more step I could’ve, but I was falling as I was going to her.”
Still photographs of the incident show that the Brazilian runner’s arm was in Felix’s lane.
Felix urged Gardner to pick up the baton, run her leg and continue the relay by handing the baton off to Marolake Akinosun who finished the race in dead last.
By completing the race, the United States established grounds for an appeal arguing that they were unfairly contacted.
On Thursday, track’s governing body, the IAAF, announced that the team’s appeal would be upheld – but that doesn’t mean the U.S. team will go straight into Friday’s final. Instead, they’ll have to re-run the race alone on Thursday night when they’ll need to beat the last qualifying team’s time of 42.7 seconds to make the final.
“The Jury of Appeals for the Rio Games upheld the USA’s appeal, saying that Felix was indeed obstructed on the second exchange,” the IAAF said in a statement. “The relay team will re-run the race alone tonight (7 p.m. ET), needing to post a time of at least 42.70 seconds to advance into the finals.”
This decision is further complicated by the fact that China and Canada tied in the qualifying race with a time of 42.7 seconds. So, if the U.S. posts a faster time than 42.7, Canada and China will also have to rerun the race to determine which nation will secure the eighth spot in the final.
The Americans were favored to win the relay, which won with a Felix-led team at the 2012 Games in London. Up until the mishap the team was in a strong position to qualify for the final event.