Allyson Felix brings home gold from Rio after all.
After narrowly missing gold in a photo finish Monday, the superstar from Canyon Country ran the second leg of the women’s 4×100 relay Friday and joined teammates Tianna Bartoletta, English Gardner and Tori Bowie at center podium.
It almost didn’t happen. In Thursday’s semifinal heat, Felix was bumped by Brazil’s Kauiza Venancio in the exchange zone. As a result, Felix caught her toe on the track, and the baton left her hands as she fumbled it in Gardner’s direction. That’s a no-no. The baton fell to the ground.
Knowing that effort and sportsmanship would count for something with the judges who would ultimately have to rule on the race, Felix yelled at Gardner to pick up the baton and complete the heat. She did.
Disqualified, the U.S. filed a protest, claiming interference by Brazil. The protest was upheld. China, odd man out, appealed the ruling but was denied.
But Team USA would have to run the heat again. Thursday night the four American women ran all by themselves against the clock – and posted the No. 1 time at 41.77 seconds.
So it was on to the final for Team USA. As a consolation, they’d have to run in the undesirable inside lane.
Not a problem.
Back in 2004, when an 18-year-old Allyson Felix won her first Olympic medal, she finished second behind Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell in the 200-meter sprint. The two have been chasing each other ever since.
In Friday’s 4×100, Campbell was on the Jamaican team that finished second behind Felix and Team USA. Great Britain took bronze.
Friday’s race brings Felix’s Olympic medal count to eight – five of them gold.