THE SEOUL GAMES / DAY 14 : U.S. 400 Relay Team Disqualified; Lewis Denied Chance for Third Gold
The U.S. men’s 400-meter relay team, which won its first-round heat in 38.98 seconds, was later disqualified for passing a baton out of the prescribed zone.
A spokesman for the International Amateur Athletic Federation said that the last handoff--from Calvin Smith to Lee McNeil--was completed outside the 20-meter handoff zone.
The ruling denied Carl Lewis his final chance for a third gold medal (and fourth medal overall) in the 1988 Games--and seventh Olympic gold medal of his career. Lewis, not on the qualifying team, was to have anchored the team in the final.
The officials’ decision was complicated by the fact that two race referees raised white flags, indicating legal handoffs, but three countries lodged protests. Officials then reviewed a videotape of the exchange and ruled against the U.S. team.