Like most, last night I witnessed what I felt to be highway robbery, in the 2016 Olympics. Mouth open, jaws dropped, I had never seen a dive technique used to secure a victory in Track and Field events. I was so very unsettled by former UGA Bulldog, Shaunae Miller’s win of the Women’s 400M dash that I discontinued watching and powered my television off. I simply did not want to see anymore. The beautiful Bahamian track and field star athlete, and now Olympic Gold Medalist, Miller had my mind at a vex of emotions.
As I awoke this morning to Twitter, looking for confirmation of whether my sentiments were replicated elsewhere, and somewhat hoping maybe judges found the stomach-landing, illegal and had credited the gold to Allyson; it became quickly apparent that plenty of people agreed. However, as I began researching whether or not “diving” across the finish line is a legal finish to a race, it became obvious to me: “duh, IT IS!” If it weren’t legal she would have been disqualified and Allison declared the winner. Then I began to question whether this has happened before in recent Olympic history.
During my research (which consisted of mainly Google and YouTube), I didn’t find much, as of course, you guessed it; this doesn’t happen often. On my hunt, I stumbled across a graphic comparing Lashawn Merritt’s stumbling gold medal win into the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Mens 400M (pictured below) .
Photo-finish comparison of the 2008 Beijing and 2016 Rio Olympics.
What is the difference here? Looking at this picture, it seems that U.S.A benefited from this very same move eight years ago! That’s when it hit me, I along with many other Americans were simply hatin’ on Shaunae Miller.
We can’t be too upset of the technique we used that an opponent used against us. THAT is the spirit of America right? The spirit of do all you can to win. We cannot be silent when we win in a shady manner, offering congratulations to Merritt and be in an uproar because of a loss to Miller. I wanted Team USA to take the gold, sure, but looking at the bigger picture, Felix has had a great Olympic career, securing seven medals (4 gold, 3 silver) since her 2004 debut. So before we go assassinating Miller’s character, and challenging her integrity of the sport, let’s all take a step back and just shut-up for a minute!
Some people saw a cheater, some people cheered for the determination to win, either way, I can see the importance of the gold to Felix and Miller alike. The support from #BahamianTwitter for Shaunae is astounding, the support for Allyson is also moving, so let’s just cheer both of these women on. Essentially they both won medals and they are still helping sprinkle #blackgirlmagic all over Rio 2016.
Can we expect to see this type of finish more often? Who knows. Will the rules of track and Field change to logic that in a foot-race, an athlete’s foot should cross the line in order to win? Maybe. Will we see more from these women in the future? Very possibly. With so much more #Rio2016 to go, let’s not taint the spirit of athleticism, competition, and victory with character attacks, pre-judgements and ill-sentiments towards Shaunae or Allyson. Let’s support our country but let’s not forget that it is only sports, they are people off the track, and none of us watching are receivers of any medal, we are simply spectators.
That being said, for my original attitude, I have to apologize to Shaunae Miller for jumping on her case without educating myself more on the matter. Congratulations to BOTH these women and all other participants that represent their countries in a once-in-a-lifetime event. GO TEAM USA!!!