The US women’s 4×100-meter relay team will run a time trial Thursday night for the first time in Olympic history.
After a botched hand-off between Allyson Felix and English Gardner took place during Thursday’s preliminary heat, US Track and Field filed a protest, claiming Felix was bumped by an opponent outsider her lane.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled in favour of the US, granting them a time trial Thursday night to try and place for the semifinal.
Here was the botched hand-off:
However, replays showed that Felix was bumped by a Brazilian runner, forching her to trip and mess up the hand-off.
After the US protested, the IAAF disqualified the Brazlian team and granted the US a time trial to re-run the race by themselves.
The decision is not without controversy, however.
As Wall Street Journal’s Sara Germano noted, time trials are extremely rare in championship races,. Historian Bill Mallon told Germano there has never been one in the Olympics before. Additionally, the US needs to beat a time of 42.7 seconds to knock off eighth-place China. If the US beats that time, they will advance to the semifinals while China would be outsted.
The Chinese team filed a protest over the IAAF’s decision.
With Brazil out of the semis, and potentially China, too, the US women may not get such a warm welcome from the Brazilian crowd when they go to re-run their race.
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