The United States have been reinstated to Saturday’s Olympic 4x400m mixed relay final after successfully appealing against disqualification, USA Track and Field confirmed.
The reigning world champions were dramatically booted out of the final after appearing to win their heat comfortably on Friday at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
The team were disqualified after an illegal changeover.
Lynna Irby, the second runner for the US, waited too far up the track to receive the baton and despite finishing first, the Americans were ruled out for breaking rule 24.19 which states: “For all takeovers, athletes are not permitted to begin running outside their takeover zones, and shall start within the zone. If an athlete does not follow the this rule, their team shall be disqualified.”
But US officials appealed on the grounds that race officials had wrongly positioned second-leg runner Irby.
American four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson also said Irby did nothing wrong.
“Our @BBCSport coverage saw 2 athletes in heat 2 also lined up in the wrong place and corrected themselves last minute,” Johnson tweeted.
“Officials either lined them up wrong or didn’t give direction. US should win appeal.”
Adam Kilgore, a journalist for the Washington Post, then reported Irby’s coach Lance Brauman also blamed the mix-up on an official.
“It wasn’t her fault that they made the mistake, and she ran very well,” he said.
The disqualification could have deprived 35-year-old Allyson Felix of a chance to become the most decorated female athlete in track and field history.
Felix is currently tied with Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey with nine medals, a dazzling haul that includes six golds and three silvers.
Felix did not take part in the heat as Elija Godwin, Irby, Taylor Manson and Bryce Deadmon instead took to the track at the Olympic Stadium.
But Felix, a member of the quartet that won gold in Doha in 2019, could well start Saturday’s final at the Olympic Stadium.