The American 4x100m relay team had their appeal rejected after an infringement during a baton changeover, giving Canada’s team a bronze medal.
One might think that any American racing a men’s sprint relay would take a moment before starting a lap of honour, such is the regularity of the subsequent crash-to-earth disqualification – and that is exactly what happened again at the Rio Games on Friday.
The flag-draped U.S. quartet had already completed their lap of honour and were speaking to the media when news emerged that instead of taking bronze medals behind Japan and winners Jamaica they had been disqualified.
The problem was a minor technical one at the first changeover between Mike Rogers and Justin Gatlin, as Gatlin touched the baton out of his zone but the result was disqualification.
Incredibly, it was the ninth time since 1995 it has happened to the U.S. in the Olympics and world championships, and they were also retrospectively disqualified three years after winning in London 2012 because of Tyson Gay’s positive dope test.
When they do get the baton round the track, the Americans invariably win, though they were never in the running on Friday once Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt got into his stride in the anchor leg.
Replays also showed a later U.S. infraction after the last switch from Tyson Gay to Trayvon Bromel, who appeared to step out of his lane.
“It was the twilight zone, it was a nightmare,” said Gatlin. “You work so hard with your team mates, guys you compete against almost all year long. All that hard work just crumbles.”
Bromel was a little more phlegmatic. “Things happen. Nothing in this world is perfect,” he said. “You go through bumps, ups and downs. That’s what life is consisting of.”
The US protested the decision and lodged an appeal over the disqualification, but that attempt was rejected.
America’s loss was Canada’s gain as they were promoted to third.
However, The United States won the women’s Olympic 4×100 metres relay on Friday as AllysonFelix became the first woman to collect five gold medals in athletics.
The U.S. team of Tianna Bartoletta, Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie clocked 41.01 seconds, the second-fastest time ever, to beat Jamaica on 41.36 and Britain on 41.77.
The Americans had nearly missed out on a place in the final, after Felix dropped the baton when handing over to Gardner in their heat on Friday morning.
But they appealed successfully, arguing that Felix had been impeded by a Brazilian runner, and went through at China’s expense after being allowed to race by themselves in a solo heat on Friday evening.
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