Ever since Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas “dove” across the line to beat Allyson Felix by a chest and .07 seconds in the 400-meter final in Rio earlier this week, Twitter and social media have been abuzz about the move being “cheap” and “unfair” and “disrespectful.” Had Felix nabbed the gold instead of silver in the 400 meters, she would have claimed her first-ever 400m Olympic gold medal. Still, the silver she went home with makes her the most decorated American female track and field athlete ever, bringing her total to seven Olympic medals.
Felix said on her Instagram after the race:
Last night didn’t end the way I had dreamed. I’m disappointed. I was quickly reminded of countless reasons to be proud, thankful and grateful. Bobby told me this is the most proud he has ever been of me. That resonated with me. Everything went wrong this year, but some way I made it here and won a silver medal. I fought as hard as I could and gave my all. I’m most proud of never giving up on my dreams in the face of adversity. I’m extremely humbled to now be the most decorated female Olympian in USATF history. All glory to God!
It’s debatable if the “dive” was in fact a dive at the line to get the last-minute W; after the race, Miller commented that she wasn’t even aware of diving, that she was just suddenly on the ground, according to the Los Angeles Times and other outlets. She wasn’t sure of the result until the board showed the final standings. Even when you watch the slow-motion replay, it looks more like an unintentional collapse in the moment of giving your all to the point of blacking out and trying to stay upright.
Felix, America’s favorite track athlete and our current cover runner, ran one helluva race despite a year of ups and downs with injury and missing a spot on the team for the 200 meters to go for that coveted double gold in Rio. We applaud both women for their efforts, and dive, collapse or unintentional dramatic lean, it’s part of the sport and passion of the athletes that want to get to the line first. Our editor Jessie Sebor discussed the issue with a local news station this morning. If you still have a need to restore your faith in humanity, just recap on Abbey D’Agostino in the 5,000 qualifying round here.