USA women's 4x100m relay team qualify for final at second attempt


The United States qualified fastest for the final of the women's 4×100 metres relay after seizing their second chance when running on their own in the Olympic Stadium.

The defending champions and world record holders were initially disqualified following a botched second changeover between Allyson Felix and English Gardner, but it turned out the former was impeded by the Brazilian team in the lane outside.

As a result the Brazilians were disqualified and the US, after an appeal, were offered a chance to qualify. They raced on their own at the start of Thursday evening's session, needing to better 42.70 seconds to go through.

And Tianna Bartoletta, Felix, Gardner and Morolake Akinosun ran the quickest time of all eight teams, finishing in 41.77secs.

Officially they were a fastest loser in qualifying for Friday's final, though, and they were drawn in lane one.

"It was really weird," Felix said. "When we walked out, people were cheering for us. It encouraged us. We're just grateful."

Gardner said: "Honestly I just feel like it was a glorified practice. We had fun out there."

Gardner said Felix was quick to realise the team had to finish the heat to be eligible for any re-run.

Felix added: "Everything just happened in a split second. When I saw it lying there I knew what had happened. I knew we had to finish to have a good shot at an appeal."

Felix asked "why me?" when it was put to her that she has had a strange Games so far, including when Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dived across the line to beat her in the 400m final.

"I was stunned and shocked. I've never been in anything like that," Felix said of the relay.

"I was impressed with the plan that they came up with. It was just an unfortunate situation. It's not ideal."

USA women's relay team
Allyson Felix, right, and English Gardner of the United States after dropping the baton in a women's 4x100m relay heat (Lee Jin-man/AP)

Felix insisted there would be little physical impact of having an additional run.

She said: "Thankfully this was the 4×100. If this was a 4×400 it might be a different story."

Jamaica, without Elaine Thompson, the 100m and 200m champion in Rio, were the second fastest qualifiers in 41.79s, and will start in lane six.

Asked about running from lane one, Gardner said: "We'll just get out there and perform. If we run the time that we know we can run we'll be perfectly fine."