This morning, the track was full of hexing as there were disqualifications and false starts all over the place. But none was more surprising than what took place in the semi-final heat of the women's 4x100 race.
The US Women's team, the defending Olympic gold medal champions, were off to a good start and then disaster struck. Allyson Felix and English Gardner failed to complete the exchange and the baton fell to the ground as Gardner ran out of the zone and the rest of the field ran right by them. Unbelievable. The defending champs were out, failing to make the finals and another chance for gold. But what most failed to see was that Felix told Gardner to pick up the baton and finish the leg and the race, which the team did, a crucial element for what took place next.
The team filed a protest, saying that the team from Brazil obstructed the hand off between Felix and Gardner, with Felix even trying to toss the baton at Gardner, resulting in the missed exchange. But, as reported by NBC Olympics, after the protest was filed, the IAAF, the sport’s international federation, said that the Brazilian runner “obstructed” Felix before the baton was tossed, thereby opening the door for a second chance for Team USA.
“It just knocked me off,” Felix said to NBC’s Lewis Johnson. “I mean, I was tripping, but I don’t know, I was still trying to get it off, but I just…I couldn’t.”
As a result of the protest, Team USA will be able to run a single relay race this evening and if they run better than China's time of 42.70 seconds, they will replace the Chinese team in the Finals tomorrow night. In addition, the Brazilian team was disqualified for the obstruction.