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Fourth-Place Medal

Track officials’ counting error costs British hurdler Jessica Ennis personal best

Jessica Ennis' personal-best run hit a hurdle thanks to UK Athletics

British track athlete Jessica Ennis thought she had broken her personal record on the 100m hurdles. Unfortunately, a mistake made by race organizers kept her from getting her personal best.

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Nine hurdles were placed on the track instead of 10. After Ennis won with a time of 12.75 to beat Americans Dawn Harper and Danielle Carruthers, retired British heptathlete Kelly Sotherton tweeted, "That 100mh was great but I'm sure that there was only 9 hurdles not 10. Please someone verify!"

Sotherton was correct. The race was set up incorrectly and Ennis' personal best would not stand. Event organizers apologized for the mistake and blamed it on UK Athletics, the governing body which administered the race. The apology didn't stop Ennis from feeling frustrated. From The Guardian:

"I feel let down," said Ennis, in a rare show of frustration. "I felt like it was a good race, I was running well, I was obviously coming through at the end, stick another hurdle on there it would have been the same outcome but, argh, I'm so annoyed. What can I say? I've still had a good competitive race but I've just not got the result that I wanted."

This was a particularly embarrassing mistake for Brits so close to the start of the London Olympics. Ennis said she's never experienced such a mistake, even when running in school competitions. The good news for international athletes is that the Olympic track and field events are run by the IAAF with officials who should be able to count to 10. Word is they are hiring this guy as a special consultant.

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