The Rio Olympics hasn’t been great for China, whether you are judging by the current medal count or the damage done to their athletes’ reputations, and it just got a little bit worse.
The women’s 4x100m relay race took place last night. China finished the race with a 42.7 second time and qualified for the finals, marking the first time that they have qualified in the finals for this event…. or so they thought.
In the second heat, Team USA dropped their baton and finished in last place. The US appealed and in an unprecedented decision, the Jury of Appeals granted them a rerun, Sina reports.
The jury ruled that a Brazilian runner went out of her lane and made contact with US sprinter, Allyson Felix. When Felix was about to pass the baton to English Gardner, the second sprinter, Felix was elbowed, lost her balance and dropped the baton. Because of this, the Brazilian team was disqualified — though they wouldn’t have qualified for the finals anyway — and the American team was allowed a second chance. And they didn’t waste it, the US team finished the relay race in 41.76 seconds the second time around, knocking the Chinese team out of the finals.
Naturally, the Chinese sprinters felt cheated. Liang Xiaojing, one of the Chinese sprinters, publicly questioned if this was a “clean” sport. The team even boycotted the event in protest when it was determined that the US would be given a rerun.
On the other hand, Team US was also surprised to get a second chance, SCMP reports. “It was weird, but it was a lot of fun. Glad we got a chance to really run a race with these ladies and qualify for the finals,” said Akinosun Morolake, one of the runners on the team.
China has made an appeal citing 3 reasons:
1) The US relay team was wearing different uniforms while competing.
2) It’s absolutely unfair to allow the US team to rerun alone. This created for a totally different atmosphere for the race than usual.
3) Team China should not be dropped off the finals list that they rightfully qualified for.
They requested that:
1) 9 teams qualify for the finals.
2) Two heats are held for the finals: one featuring the five teams with the top times and another featuring the four teams with the bottom times. A finals with two heats has never happened before, but neither has a relay team qualified for the finals by running their own race.
As you would expect, Chinese netizens have raged about what they see as yet another unjust situation:
“When the US wants a rerun they get a rerun. When we want it we don’t get anything. Fuck you!” @Descle write.
“Thank god America is currently ranked number 1 in the medal count, otherwise the Olympics would get a rerun,” @NNNNNNNNannnn wrote.
“China has the same time as Canada. Why didn’t Canada get kicked off?” @苏打爱上吃薯片 wrote,
On the other hand, the stance of Western fans is divided. Some think the US relay runners are to blame.
“YOU HAD ONE FUCKING JOB. HANDLING A STICK? How hard is it for her? It’s not the first time,” LexasReyes wrote.
“I know she got bumped, but she kind of threw it. What was she thinking?” Christian Young wrote.
Others think the re-run is deserved.
“The only way to beat team USA is to cheat lol,” Pangolinist wrote.
“WTF was the Brazilian runner doing starting so far over to side of her lane. Looked intentional,” Brian D. wrote.
After appealing and getting rejected, Xinhua seems to have finally accepted reality and tweeted:
— Team China (@XHSports) August 19, 2016
Watch the rerun and listen to a very salty CCTV commentator here:
By Sarah Lin