U.S. Relay Team Successfully Appeals DQ After Dropped Baton, Will Race Alone Tonight for Spot in Final

This will be a weird sight: a relay race with only one team running.

by Mike Vorkunov
Aug 18 2016, 5:09pm

Ryan Lochte hijinks aside, the weirdest thing to happen lately in the actual Olympics competition happened on the track in Rio. Now it's going to lead to a special made-for-TV run-off tonight.

The U.S. women's 4x100 meter relay was disqualified from the semifinal heat this morning after Allyson Felix dropped the baton during a handoff with English Gardner after running the second leg. It looked like another embarrassing outcome for the U.S. relay team. The women's 4x100 team dropped the baton in 2004 and 2008, while the men's team did it in 2008 and 2012.

But the U.S. team filed a protest, saying that a Brazilian runner had crowded into the US lane and bumped Felix, causing her to drop the baton. And guess what? It actually worked!

Now the U.S. will run again Thursday night at 7 p.m. Eastern time to try to make the finals. They just have to beat the eighth place time—42.70 seconds by China.

But it's also going to be weird. The U.S. will run alone around the track. Just them and an entire stadium watching.

"I think I got propelled at about 20 miles an hour," Felix said. "When a foreign object comes in front of you, it's going to mess up the momentum and the handover."

Just one more wrinkle though: It could get even weirder and tense. If the U.S. does beat the threshold to qualify for the finals, then China and Canada will have to race again to decide who the eighth place team is.

So, basically: Tune in, tonight is going to be a lot of fun.