Given a reprieve thanks to an IAAF ruling regarding their ill-fated run during the semifinal heat of the women’s 4×100 relay, the U.S. earned a spot in Friday’s final with the fastest time posted by any of the competing teams.
The quartet of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun completed their heat in 41.77 seconds, doing so on an empty track due to a protest that was upheld by the IAAF. During their original run Felix’s passing of the baton to Gardner was botched, resulting in the Americans finishing last in their heat. Felix argued that she was contacted by a runner in another lane, but without the decision to pick up the baton and complete their heat the U.S. would not have been able to file an appeal.
The decision by Felix and Gardner to continue opened the door for a video review, in which the IAAF ruled that Felix was indeed contacted by a runner from Brazil while beginning the process of passing the baton to Gardner. As a result of this China, which posted a time of 42.70 seconds, will not advance to the final.
The U.S. now has the chance to win their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the women’s 4×100, with the 2012 team breaking the world record (that still stands).