Bahamaian Sprinter Shaunae Miller Dives at Olympic Finish Line to Win Gold, Beats Allyson Felix in Upset

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.

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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.

Shaunae Miller
Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dives over the finish line to win the gold medal in the women’s 400-meter final on day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

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.” 

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Shaunae Miller
Bahamas’s Shaunae Miller crosses the finish line to win the women’s 400-meter final during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

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.”

Shaunae Miller
Bahamas’s Shaunae Miller competes in the women’s 400-meter final during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

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. 

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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 4×400-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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