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USA 4x400m mixed relay team reinstated after controversial disqualification


From gold medal favorites to a devasting disqualification.

Team USA’s 4×400-meter mixed-gender relay team left the track in shock on Friday night after being DQed in the prelims and Olympic debut of the event on Friday.

But early Saturday morning in Tokyo, it was announced that the relay team had been reinstated after successfully appealing a ruling that had knocked them out of the Olympics.

After the Americans finished the race Friday, winning their heat handily, race officials disqualified the U.S. team, saying they had committed a zone violation.

“For all takeovers, athletes are not permitted to begin running outside their takeover zones, and shall start within the zone,” World Athletics Technical Rules 24.19 states. “If an athlete does not follow this Rule, their team shall be disqualified.”

It was the exchange between the first leg Elija Godwin and second leg Lynna Irby that was found to have taken place outside the passing zone.

The U.S appealed its disqualification from the first round and hours later learned that the call was reversed.

In a tweet, U.S. Track and Field said the team had been reinstated and would compete in Saturday’s final. Now, many are saying the race could give Allyson Felix a chance to win a historic gold medal. Felix is currently tied with Merlene Ottey for the most medals in Olympic track and field history with nine.

While the legendary sprinter did not compete in the relay prelims, teams can switch up runners between rounds, allowing for more than four athletes to win medals. Felix may be one of them.