RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It took a head-first dive by Shaunae Miller at the finish line to beat Allyson Felix, denying her a record fifth Olympic gold medal.
Miller, the 22-year-old from the Bahamas, stayed even with Felix for 398 meters, then sprawled, dove and crashed across the finish line to edge her by .07 seconds.
She’ll get the gold medal in the 400 meters. Maybe they should give her a cape, too.
This was supposed to be a stroll and something of a coronation for Felix, who was the defending world champion and had the best career time of the eight women in Monday night’s final. She was trying to become the first woman to win five golds at the Olympics.
Halfway through the race, it was clear that was no sure thing.
Starting from Lane 7, Miller expanded the lag, instead of getting gobbled up. Felix slowly chipped away. They came down the last 100 meters and Felix drew even, maybe even got a step ahead.
It came down to the last few steps, but Miller opted for the dive — the sort of technique no coach would ever teach. As she lay on her back, writhing in agony, Felix sat on the ground stone-faced. Ten seconds passed. Then 20. Finally, the result popped up. Miller won in 49.44 seconds.
The rules say the win is determined by which athlete has any part of her torso cross the line first. The photo finish showed the negative image of Miller’s sprawled out body, with her shoulder just barely over the line before Felix reached.