USA Track and Field has filed an appeal over the men’s 4×100-meter relay team’s disqualification from Friday’s final.
The Americans crossed the finish line in third place, behind Japan and Jamaica, but their bronze medal was taken away after it was ruled that leadoff runner Mike Rodgers’ baton pass to Justin Gatlin fell outside of the takeover zone. The Canadian team was then moved up to the podium.
A decision on the USATF’s appeal is expected to be reached by Saturday morning.
“They said [Gatlin] got the stick before the exchange zone,” Tyson Gay said. “I don’t really know the rules but I know if you get it before, you’re DQ’d … But he’s saying he didn’t grab it until he got across it so, hopefully, we can do some type of appeal.”
International competition guidelines, as set by the IAAF, state that “the baton shall be passed within the takeover zone. The passing of the baton commences when it is first touched by the receiving athlete and is completed the moment it is in the hand of only the receiving athlete. In relation to the takeover zone, it is only the position of the baton, which is decisive. Passing of the baton outside the takeover zone shall result in disqualification.”
An awkward situation followed the race, as the U.S. team initially celebrated and paraded around the track before finding out that they had been disqualified.
Friday’s was far from the first mishap the U.S. men’s 4x100m relay team has suffered in recent years. In 2004 and 2008, a botched handoff doomed the Americans and the team’s 2012 silver medal was stripped due to Gay’s doping suspension.