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?”
Hate me all you want, but I hate the dive at the end of the 400m. Allyson Felix should’ve won. I get the lean in, but diving? NO!
Writer Of Things (@filmbooksbball) August 16, 2016
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:
Ppl are mad Miller won with a dive but most pro’s at one point have used that tactic to win. Miller didn’t cheat Allyson, she won fair.
Lolo Jones (@lolojones) August 16, 2016
Michael Johnson, who has won a few gold medals himself, backed up the assertion that diving is bad strategy:
Shaunae Miller’s dive was to recover from falling. Sprinters know the quickest way across the line is a well timed lean. Trust me on that.
Michael Johnson (@MJGold) August 16, 2016
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/