Shaunae Miller’s Olympic dive for gold sparks debate

August 16, 2016 GMT

It’s settled: Shaunae Miller’s finishing dive that earned her the gold medal during Monday’s 400-meter race at the Rio Olympics was legal.

The Bahamian athlete beat Team USA’s Allyson Felix by 0.07 seconds by diving into the finish line, a move so rare that it sparked a debate on whether it was a legitimate victory. And it was. (Side note: there’s also a twist to this story, which you’ll read below.)

Video of the dive was replayed on social media as many questioned how Miller could have possibly won. From a viewer’s perspective at home, the race was too close to call.

No one could blame you if your eyes didn’t catch it, which is why the debate went into full speed moments after the race. Some questioned the legality of the dive, others said they felt it was unfair.


But the finish was, indeed, legal, according to Olympic track and field rules:

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.

Let’s not forget, Miller is not the first or only athlete to pull such a controversial move at the Olympics. And here’s the twist: During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, it was an American who dove ahead of a Bahamian athlete during the 400-meter race.

During the 400-meter race, USA track and field athlete David Neville dove into the finish line to win the bronze and narrowly beating Bahamian athlete Chris Brown by 0.04 seconds. So you could say that in 2008 the Americans did it to the Bahamians and in 2016 the Bahamians did it to the Americans.

So, it’s settled. Miller’s dive for the gold was legal. But was it fair? Should track and field athletes be allowed to dive into the finish line?

Share your thoughts in the comments.