The Rio Olympics athletics program was already in the dumps with the strange case of the Russian athletics team being thrown out, but the case of the United States' 4x100m women's relay team has just made athletics a total joke.
The American team just won their solo race against the clock to book their place in the Olympic 4x100m women's relay final, even though they dropped the baton in the heats. In their appeal, the Americans say the dropped baton exchange between Allyson Felix and English Gardner was due to a knock from Brazilian runner Kauiza Venancio. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) agreed. They disqualified Brazil, who did not make the finals, but ruled that the Americans must run again, in a highly unusual solo flying lap, to beat China's eighth fastest qualifying time of 42.70sec. The Americans did and the IAAF dismissed the expected Chinese protest.
Question; does this means that every time someone is knocked off-stride, the IAAF will grant a re-run? Runners get knocked by other runners all the time. In distance running, it's almost an accepted fact. Even in short distance, it has happened before. In 2011, Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang was blocked by another athlete. No re-run then. Hell, the Rio Olympic flame was lit by marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima who was attacked by a crazed spectator while leading the marathon in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Any re-run then?
So why is there one now? That is just stupid! If the Americans were knocked by a Chinese runner and the Chinese team went through, I can understand the decision but that's clearly not the case here. Unless someone is saying the Brazilian team knocked the American team on purpose on behalf of the Chinese, this decision make no sense whatsoever.
But then again this is the IAAF and as shown in the Russian case, it is a place where politics rule all!