The United States 4×100 women’s relay was expected to contend for a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but in one swift moment it all looked like it was over. All of the hopes were dashed with a single drop of the baton on the second exchange of the relay.
Except it wasn’t over, as the United States appealed the disqualification and on Thursday the IAAF upheld the appeal. It ruled that Allyson Felix had been bumped just before entering the exchange zone, resulting in the exchange with English Gardner being off and Felix having to toss the baton to her partner and watch it fall to the ground instead.
“I got bumped coming into the exchange zone,” Felix said. “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.”
The IAAF had the following to say about the ruling being overturned upon appeal:
“The Jury of Appeals for the Rio Games upheld the USA’s appeal, saying that Felix was indeed obstructed on the second exchange. 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.”
It is expected that the team will indeed crash through that time barrier, but there is a secondary problem if that does occur. Both Canada and China finished with a time of 42.70 seconds in their respective heats and therefore will have to run-off for the final spot if the United States team beats that time needed to get in to the final.
This is all good news for a United States team that is defending its gold medal from the 2012 London Olympic games.
As for the Brazilian team that appeared to bump Felix? They were disqualified from the event, but didn’t make the final anyway.
It will be interesting to see how the extra race affects the 4×100 team and its chances to outpace a team like Jamaica. We’ll know more as of 7pm ET though.