The United States 4 × 400-meter mixed relay team was reinstated at the Tokyo Olympics just hours after being disqualified for a transfer violation.
The US team finished first in qualifying and advanced to Friday’s semi-finals, but a bad patch between 22-year-old riders Lynna Irby and Elija Godwin appears to have kept them from going for gold.
But after successfully appealing the decision, the event’s reigning world champions can take part in the first Olympic 4 × 400-meter mixed relay final on Saturday.
The United States 4 × 400-meter mixed relay team was reinstated at the Tokyo Olympics just hours after being disqualified
A bad witness pass between Lynna Irby (surrounded) and Elija Godwin initially disqualified them
Irby and Godwin were placed in the team specifically to help get through the relay turns, but the The ruling said the former had positioned herself “outside” the area to receive her teammate’s witness.
The American men have a long history of faulty bat trades in Olympic relays, and the women too and thanks to the 4x400m relay debut in Tokyo, seemed to have missed a set.
After the race Godwin said: “Mistakes happen. We are human. We make mistakes. However, it was a mistake that seemed to have cost Allyson Felix a chance to win his record-breaking 10th Olympic medal.
She helped the United States win this race on its world championship debut two years ago.
But Irby (above) and Godwin’s blushes were spared after their call to appear in Saturday’s final was successful
Now her opportunity to break the tie with Jamaican great Merlene Ottey for the most women’s track medals in Olympic history is back on call and could come ahead of the women’s 400m of the week. next. Felix could also compete in the women’s 4x400m next weekend.
“We went out and did our best,” Godwin said. “It was a total surprise to all of us. We heard the news. All we can do is prepare for the future and see what happens next.
Taylor Manson, the third leg, echoed this. “We all did our best there,” she said. “I am proud of everyone’s efforts. ”
It seemed like the latest chapter in a decades-long string of incidents for the United States in the relays. Most came in the shorter 4x100m relay where the pass is a more technical and urgent move. Friday’s 4x400m was an incident when the rally shouldn’t have been so difficult.
The mistake appeared to have cost Allyson Felix a chance to win his record 10th Olympic medal
The relays looked just as if they had recovered, too, after the men won the 2019 world championships and finished second at the 2017 world championships.
But before that – a lot of grief. A “QD” at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 marked the ninth time since 1995 that the US team’s men have missed the baton at a world championship or the Olympics.
The women have a slightly better story: Felix ran in the second leg and they set the world record in the 4x100m at the London Olympics in 2012. But they weren’t immune to trouble either. They were excluded from medals in 2004 and 2008 after a bad connection.
In 2016, Felix was part of the US women’s team that was initially disqualified from the preliminaries for an illegal pass in the 4x100m. But they protested because Felix was pushed around by another runner.
A few hours later, they returned to the track to complete a time trial with no other team on the track and advanced to the final, where they easily won.
Now Felix’s opportunity to match Jamaican great Merlene Ottey for the most women’s track and field medals in Olympic history is back.
But even if victory was not an option after Friday’s mishap – which saw Poland to dominate the timesheets – they will still have their chance to clinch glory.
Coronavirus protocols may have contributed to the incident, which left the team with a lack of practice in getting the timing right.
“We have to be a lot more careful than any year before,” Godwin said before the stint.
“If at the end of the day we get a DQ I know I’m going to hold my head up because we went out and did our best. I am proud of all of our guys and girls.
Ahead of the final, the event is expected to be a fan favorite, featuring teams of two men and two women competing in any order they choose.