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Yes, it’s legal to dive across the finish line. It’s just not a good idea.

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Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas (L) dives over the finish line to win the gold medal in the Women’s 400m Final ahead of silver medalist Allyson Felix of the United States (C).
Image: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

When Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dove across the finish to beat Team USA’s Allyson Felix in the 400-meter final on Monday night, it had plenty of people angry and asking, “Um, can you do that?”

Sorry, Team USA fans, but it’s totally OK to take a dive in track events. It’s just not a very good idea.

Here are the official rules, per NBC Sports:

The finish: The first athlete whose torso (as distinguished from the head, neck, arms, legs, hands or feet) reaches the vertical plane of the closest edge of the finish line is the winner.

So, while diving would seem to give you a huge advantage, stretching out your fingers doesn’t do you any good. It’s all about where your torso is when you cross the finish line. Miller’s torso was juuust ahead of Felix’s torso at end of the race, as this graphic from NBC shows.

Still, diving forward seems like it could provide an edge but, in most cases, it actually slows you down, as Olympic veteran Lolo Jones explained on Twitter:

Michael Johnson, who has won a few gold medals himself, backed up the assertion that diving is bad strategy:

Look at it again, and it certainly doesn’t look like something Miller planned:

She told the Associated Press: “I don’t know what happened. My mind just went blank. The only thing I was thinking (about) was the gold medal, and the next thing I know, I was on the ground.”

Basically, Miller experienced the luckiest fall in Olympic history. She won gold, Felix won silver to claim the record for most medals in U.S. women’s track history, and we all got to make jokes on the internet.

Originally found athttp://mashable.com/