American sprinter Mike Rodgers blasted Olympic track and field judges over their decision to disqualify the United States from the 4×100 meters relay final on Friday night after the team had crossed the line in bronze-medal position.
The U.S. squad was visibly confused once it got the news of its elimination several minutes after the race, which was comfortably won by Jamaica — anchored by Usian Bolt. Japan captured a surprise silver medal, while Canada was elevated into bronze once the Americans were disqualified.
The incident that caused the penalty was believed to have come on the exchange between Rodgers and Gatlin. It was ruled that the baton passed between the pair outside of the permitted exchange zone, which allows runners 20 meters to hand off.
“I have seen the replay, and to me it is pretty clear,” Rodgers said. “I think we have a good case, because to me it doesn’t look like (an infraction).”
Rodgers said that he believed confusion may have arisen with the judges from the period where both he and Gatlin had hold of the baton. He said he was “confident” the decision would be overturned and that the U.S. had appealed the disqualification.
“For me the angle was I didn’t have full control of the stick when I went into the zone,” Gatlin said.
Canada, while celebrating bronze, were cautious about getting too excited about getting onto the podium.
“We are happy, but we have to wait and see what happens,” 200-meter silver medalist Andre De Grasse said.
Source: USA Today Sport