TOKYO — A faulty exchange in the Olympic debut of the mixed 4x400 relay has cost the U.S. a spot in the final. It also might have cost Allyson Felix a chance at her record-setting 10th Olympic medal.
The U.S. breezed to a victory in the first qualifying heat of the relay Friday night, but was disqualified because of a bad pass between Lynna Irby and Elija Godwin. The ruling said Irby had positioned herself “outside” the zone to receive the baton from Godwin.
It’s the latest in a decades-long series of mishaps for the U.S. in relays. Most have come in the shorter 4x100 relay where the pass is a more technical and time-sensitive move. This one came in a 4x400 race where there aren’t traditionally issues with the pass.
Felix, who was not on the track for qualifying, might have been in the lineup for the final on Saturday. She has nine Olympic medals and with one more would break a tie with Merlene Ottey of Jamaica for the most Olympic track medals for a woman.
Felix ran on the mixed team that won gold in the event’s debut at the 2019 world championships in Doha.
Felix is qualified for the women’s 400, which starts next Tuesday, and could also run in the women’s 4x400 at the end of the meet.
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