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USATF advocacy, education result in renewed medal opportunities

8/18/2016
 

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Thursday evening at Olympic Stadium, track fans witnessed something never before seen in Olympic competition: a relay team running a solo time trial, in an attempt to make a final.

 

When the Team USA quartet of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun ran the fastest time of the round, 41.77, to make it to the final, it marked the third consecutive day that the efforts of USATF’s High Performance team had resulted in Team USA athletes advancing to a final round.

 

On Tuesday, Abbey D’Agostino was advanced to the women’s 5,000m final after a fall (although she won’t run due to injury); and on Wednesday, USATF protested, appealed, appealed again and ultimately won in its efforts to advance Hassan Mead to the men’s 5,000m final, also after a fall.

 

The relay’s ability to advance was the result not just of filing a protest, but of athletes being well-prepared for what to do in a time of crisis.

 

“At our technical meeting, (USATF team event manager) Tim Weaver really emphasized that if something happens, you have to pick up the baton and finish in order to protest,” Felix said after the time-trial Thursday night. “After the race, I was texting him saying thank you. I was so grateful, and USATF really advocated for us.”

 

Making the case for Mead

 

USATF’s advocacy in Mead’s case was especially detailed. Mead fell in the qualifying round of the men’s 5,000 meters, finishing 13th in the first heat in 13:34.27, well shy of qualifying for the final. USATF filed a protest, stating that he had been impeded by defending Olympic champion Mo Farah, which caused his fall.

 

The protest was denied.

 

USATF then filed an appeal of that decision.

 

That appeal was denied.

 

Later in the day, USATF observed new video evidence that more clearly showed Mead’s fall and presented that evidence to the Jury of Appeal. The appeal was accepted, and Mead advanced.

 

“The rules allow for reopening a decision if new evidence comes to light,” USATF Chief of Sport Performance Duffy Mahoney said. “We presented the new evidence to the Jury of Appeal. They ruled Hassan had been obstructed, and he was reinstated.”

 

The women’s 4x100m relay will compete Friday night; Mead runs in the 5,000m final on Saturday.


USATF Communications

Communications@usatf.org



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