The U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team, given a second chance to reach the Rio Olympic final after successfully appealing its disqualification from its first-round heat, got the baton around the track safely in a rerun Thursday night and earned a chance to compete for a gold medal in Friday’s final.
The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun had been disqualified from its heat Thursday morning after Felix was bumped by Brazil's Kauiza Venancio and was thrown off stride, causing her to make a faulty exchange to Gardner. The baton fell and Gardner picked it up, on Felix’s urging, and they finished the race. However, they and the Brazilian teams were disqualified. USA Track and Field officials sought relief from a Jury of Appeals on the basis that Felix had been impeded; the jury agreed and granted the rerun.
The same four athletes ran in the same order, but they were the only runners on the track. Their handoffs were fine and they were timed in 41.77 seconds, the top qualifying time. However, because they earned the spot in a rerun they are considered to have qualified for the final on time and will run in Lane 1 or Lane 8 instead of a prime middle lane. China timed at 42.70 seconds — a few hundredths behind Canada — and was dropped out of the field for the final.