Wait, what sport are we watching? Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller dove across the finish line in the women’s 400-meter race to claim the Olympic gold medal on Monday, August 15, defeating American Allyson Felix by 0.07 seconds in a surprising upset.
The two track-and-field stars were neck and neck at the end of the race until Miller, 22, left her feet and flew through the air with outstretched arms in the final yard of the race. Miller finished with a time of 49.44 seconds, and just edged out Felix, 30, who completed the race in 49.51 seconds.
According to NBC, the rules don’t specify how the sprinter must cross the line, stating, “The first athlete whose torso … reaches the vertical plane of the closest edge of the finish line is the winner.”
Felix took home the silver, which made her the most decorated American in women’s track-and-field history with seven medals. “It’s a little bittersweet now,” the L.A. native told Us Weekly and other reporters of the historic but heartbreaking finish. “I’m a competitor and I went for it. I think in the moment, it’s just painful.”
When asked about Miller’s plunge, Felix said, “I was just focused on myself. I didn’t really have too many thoughts about that. … I just tried to dig deep and give all I have, and I don’t feel like I had any more left to give.”
However, the win was controversial and many felt Miller should have finished the race on her feet.
One tweeter wrote, “Allyson Felix got robbed, if you wanna dive do it in the pool,” while another added, “So Shaunae Miller won a gold for the new event of land diving, apparently. Allyson Felix won a gold for running the 400m, in my opinion.”
Others thought that Miller’s dive was inadvertant, and that she may have collapsed and fell across the line. Another added, “What a way to win. Shaunae Miller, having given 100%, falls across the line to deny the legendary Allyson Felix."
Next up, Felix is in the relay pool for the 4x400-meter, an event in which she’s won gold twice. The final will take place Saturday, August 20, at 9 p.m. ET.
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