Well there it was. The women’s 200 came down to the wire between yet another of America’s sweethearts Allyson Felix and Bahama’s Shaunae Miller. Miller had a slight lead over Felix for the majority of the race, but in the last 20 or so meters it looked like Felix was going squeak past Miller.
Then it happened. Miller dove past the line.
I guess that’s like the super slow thing they use for photo finishes. Here’s the picture with actual color:
And as you can see from these two tweets, there were drastically different opinions of said dive all around the internet and media immediately following the race. Some people thought Felix got robbed and it was a cheap move by Miller. Other’s saw Miller’s leap for gold as just that; an example of heart, grit and determination to sacrifice her body for a gold medal. But how should we feel?
First I think it’s important to know the rules. Diving is legal. What Miller did is completely within the rules of track and field. On top of that, for people griping about how it’s cheap that it is a rule because a human body is longer than a stride, even if you dive your time stops when your torso passes the line. That’s why sprinters are told to lean at the finish line because the clock stops when the torso hits the finish line. So essentially you could do cartwheels for 200 meters and as long as your torso crosses the line, it’s an official time (I’m actually not sure if that’s true, but the torso part is). So again if this is legal, how should we feel?
Well I look at this as almost like the other team hitting a half court shot at the buzzer to win the game. You played the game, you basically won it in real time, but the other team throws up a prayer as the clock hits zero from 70 feet out and it swishes and you lose the game. It sucks because you’re speechless. It was, by all accounts luck that they hit the shot, but they did and they won and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well the same applies here I feel. Felix, while maybe started a bit slower than she would have liked, really ran a good race. She left enough in the tank to finish the job, which she nearly did. Miller knew that she had to “throw up a prayer” at the end there or else she would have lost the gold and she did, and she won. That’s it. It really fucking sucks for Allyson Felix because in all reality if this was the 205 meter sprint, she would have won, but hey the ball didn’t bounce her way yesterday. She’s still the most decorated US Olympic sprinter of all time so that’s a pretty decent consolation.