But was it really against the rules?
Source: NBC Universal/Twitter
Bahamian track and field star Shaunae Miller provided a spectacular finish to the women’s 400-meter race at the Rio Games on Monday, diving across the finish line to secure her first Olympic gold medal. While some saw it as a feat of athleticism, others questioned the ethics of the move, claiming it went against the rules.
DID YOU SEE THIS FINISH?! @Hey_ItsShaunae dives to beat out @AllysonFelix in the 400m. https://t.co/LJf9pvPIbV https://t.co/o3SIQikYeP— NBC Olympics (@NBC Olympics) 1471317701
What likely sparked the debate more than the dive itself was the fact that Miller beat Team USA’s gold-medal favorite Allyson Felix by just 0.07 seconds. While the defeat crushed expectations, Miller technically didn’t do anything illegal. According to NBC News, the rules are as follows: “The first athlete whose torso … reaches the vertical plane of the closest edge of the finish line is the winner.”
Twitter users, on the other hand, saw it very differently and did not hold back with their opinions.
Wait seriously you're allowed to dive rather than running thru the line? Allyson Felix got robbed. via @NBCOlympics https://t.co/Xp0U1S3KLb— Bradd Jaffy (@Bradd Jaffy) 1471313674
I didn't think "dives" should be allowed in track and field. If you want to dive join a swim team. #AllysonFelix should have won gold.— Simone Johnson (@Simone Johnson) 1471368588
I'm a runner & this feels like cheating to me. #IJS https://t.co/EpcIsT8QJI— Kj (@Kj) 1471354500
My face when I saw Shaunae Miller dive across the line and beat Allyson Felix. https://t.co/qrJ0R3qwai— Baby E (@Baby E) 1471313796
Whether you approve of it or not, diving for the win happens more often than viewers would think. Natasha Hastings, one of Felix’s teammates, dove during a race in order to qualify for the Olympic team. Felix, being a true champ, took the loss gracefully and told TODAY on Tuesday, “It wasn’t my best race. I felt like it got a little bit away from me.”
2008: #USA's Neville dove past #BAH's Brown for #bronze. 2016: #BAH's Miller dove past #USA's Felix for #gold. https://t.co/sGnvreZNVJ— NBC Olympics (@NBC Olympics) 1471323350
Though this wouldn’t be the first time Allyson Felix has had a strange finish. During US qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games, Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied for third place in the women’s 100-meter final. To break the tie, the runners had to decide between a coin flip and a run-off. In a surprising twist, Tarmoh pulled out of the tie-breaker, opting instead to let her teammate move on to the Olympic team. Felix finished fifth in the event in London but won gold in three other events.
While Felix might not have won gold this time around, she did take home silver, making her the most decorated US female track athlete of all time.