*The U.S. women’s 4×100-meter relay team will get a second chance to make the finals after a runner in the next lane accidentally interfered with the handoff between Allyson Felix and English Gardner, causing the Americans to finish their semifinal heat in last place on Thursday.
According to ESPN, the U.S. will not have any competitors on the track during the re-run, and the International Association of Athletics Federations said they’ll need to run faster than 42.70 seconds to bump China from the final.
This unprecedented solo re-run is scheduled to take place at around 6 p.m. EST (accessible on the NBC Sports app) and will be aired tonight on tape delay during NBC’s primetime coverage.
ESPN describes how the interference occurred:
Felix seemed to stumble as she entered the exchange zone and could not catch third runner Gardner, flipping the baton in desperation, ESPN reports. It hit the ground as Gardner and Felix crashed into each other. Gardner held her head in desperation as Felix went to pick up the baton and hand it over.
Replays of the race show Brazil’s third runner, Kauiza Venancio, start to pump her arms as she gets ready to receive the baton from Franciela Krasucki. Venacio’s left arm made contact with Felix’s right one and threw her off balance as she was attempting to pass to Gardner.
Felix let out a yelp as her flip missed its mark and the baton tumbled to the ground. She picked up the baton and told Gardner to finish the race — a heads-up move that may not have really changed anything, per the rulebook, but removed any doubt about the U.S team’s intention to finish the race. Anchor runner Morolake Akinosun finished but the Americans didn’t post an official time, listed as a “DQ,” until officials let them back in.
“I remember them telling us, if there’s an appeal, you have to make an effort,” Felix said.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, the Americans won the 4×100-meter relay gold medal in an Olympic-record 40.82 seconds.
Added Gardner: “We’re just gonna regroup, get ourselves together and go out and be able to compete in the final.”