The United States women 4×100-meter squad has earned a place in the finals after they were granted a highly unusual opportunity to re-run its qualifying race.
On Thursday evening, they ran 41.77 seconds, good enough to best the Chinese team’s 42.70 mark—the slowest of the finals qualifiers—and replace them in the medal event.
The Americans dropped the baton during their first attempt on Thursday morning. The fumble occurred at the exchange between Allyson Felix and English Gardner—however, officials determined that Felix was interfered with by Brazil’s Kauiza Venancio, running in the lane next to the Americans.
Shortly after the fumble, Felix told Gardner to retrieve the bottom and finish the race, enabling the Americans to lodge a protest. Germany won the heat in 42.18 seconds; the Americans finished last.
Olympic officials faced a tough decision after the American appeal. With all the qualifying teams set for the finals, and only eight lanes available on the track, the determination was made to allow the Americans a chance to re-run the event by themselves.
After the successful time trial on Thursday evening, the U.S. squad will have a chance to medal on Saturday.