Second chance leads to Olympic gold for U.S. women’s 4×100 relay team.
The U.S. women’s 4×100 relay team comprised of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Marolake Akinosun were disqualified from competition on Thursday morning following a botched second handoff between Felix and Gardner. Felix was bumped by Brazil’s Kauiza Venancio which caused her lose balance and fumble her exchange to Gardner. After dropping the baton, Felix urged Gardner to complete the race to better their chances of an appeal.
Immediately after the race, USA Track and Field successfully filed an appeal; disqualifying Brazil from competition and allowing the U.S. women a solo rerun of the race later that night. The women were timed at 41.77 seconds, creating the top qualifying time for that event. China was timed at 42.70 seconds and held the eighth spot going into the finals; however, they were dropped out of the field following the U.S. women’s rerun.
The U.S. women’s 400-meter relay made the most of its second chance by successfully defending its 2012 London Olympic title. The semi-finals’ anchor Marolake Akinosun was replaced by Tori Bowie and U.S. women won Olympic gold with a time of 41.01. This group of women became the first American team to win back-to-back relay titles since the U.S. won in 1992 and 1996.
Allyson Felix finished the race as one of the most decorated female track and field athletes – with five gold and two silver Olympic medals. She is only second behind Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey, who won nine Olympic medals from 1980 to 2004. She has an opportunity to tie Ottey with a medal in the women’s 4×400 relay tonight.