Runner Takes Gold With Head-First Dive

Shaunae Miller took the 400 meters by .07 seconds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2016 10:25 PM CDT
Updated Aug 16, 2016 2:00 AM CDT
Runner Takes Gold With Head-First Dive
Bahamas' gold medal winner Shaunae Miller looks to United States' Allyson Felix as she falls over the finish line to win gold in the women's 400-meter final during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.    (Matt Dunham)

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 line to edge Felix by .07 seconds, winning gold in the 400 meters. (Video here.) 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 track golds at the Olympics. She did walk away with one record, though: Time reports that with a total of seven medals, she's now bested Jackie Joyner-Kersee as America's most winning female track and field athlete.

Stride for stride Felix and Miller ran, until the last few steps. Felix made a textbook lean into the finish line. Miller tried something else. The dive is something no coach would ever teach. Then again, amazing things happen with a gold medal on the line. As Miller lay on her back, writhing in agony, Felix sat on the ground stone-faced. The AP reports the rules say the win is determined by which athlete has any part of her torso cross the line first. The photo finish showed Miller's shoulder just barely over the line before Felix reached. Finally, the result popped up. Miller won in 49.44 seconds. Time notes Felix painted herself as eternally second to Joyner-Kersee in comments last week: "All of her medals are individual, and I have a lot of relays, so to me I can never be in Jackie’s category." (More 2016 Olympics stories.)

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