On Monday night in Rio, Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas won gold in the 400 metres, beating runner up Allyson Felix by 0.07 seconds.
But in the hours since, there has been widespread public outcry about the fairness of her win.
The issue is that Miller didn’t exactly cross the line first.
Instead, she dove (or fell, according to some sources) across the finish line. In real time, it looked like her US competitor had won, as her whole (upright) body definitely crossed the finish line before Miller. But, when the official ruling came through, Miller was declared the winner.
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) August 16, 2016
According to The International Association of Athletic Federations rulebook, the fact that Miller’s chest crossed the finish line first, earned her a gold medal. The official guidelines state:
“The athletes shall be placed in the order in which any part of their bodies (i.e. torso, as distinguished from the head, neck, arms, legs, hands or feet) reached the vertical plane of the nearer edge of the finish line” (Rule 164, IAAF Rules 2006-2007).
Who knew there were so many rules?
The crowd reacted to the controversial win with humour and surprise, and already, Miller’s dramatic dive has become an online sensation.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 16, 2016