Commentary: Unprecedented solo rerun by US women’s relay team runs against Olympic spirit of fairness

American womens’ 4X100m

American womens’ 4X100m

BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) – Although the U.S. women’s 4×100 metres relay team won a gold medal in Rio Friday, its victory is not without controversy.

Many had not expected to see the U.S. team in the final after sprinter Allyson Felix dropped the baton in the relay.

To the surprise of many, after lodging a complaint that the baton drop was due to being elbowed by a Brazilian runner, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided to grant the team an unprecedented redo amid boos.

The redo is widely regarded as ridiculous and unfair. Even Felix herself said it was “really weird” and “running without competitors is just strange.”

A netizen on the Washington Post website also commented: “It’s a solo game, not a match in the 2nd run. Such a shame!”

“This is the biggest joke ever,” another netizen on the Post website said.

The U.S. team knocked China off the eighth place and got into the final. China protested but to no avail. However, any clear-eyed spectator can see it’s extremely unfair to reinstate one team at the expense of another when the latter is not at fault at all.

For starters, body contact and physical collisions are commonplace in sports and the U.S. runners could hardly blame another team for their own failure in handling the baton.

The IAAF ruling to allow the U.S. team a special solo rerun damages the reputation of the sports body and will be regarded as a stain on the legacy of the Rio Olympics.

The fact that when the U.S. team wanted a rerun, it got a rerun also provides an insight into the U.S. hegemony in handling sports disputes. Just like in many other areas, the United States believes it can make all the rules and interpret them for its own benefit.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the gold medal the U.S. women’s team has managed to pocket this time is far less deserved than the others, since the rerun drama has tarnished the Olympic spirit of fair competition.

Why are the Olympic Games so popular around the world? Its fairness by treating all athletes equally is one of the important reasons. Deviating from its rules of fairness would make a medal meaningless.

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Filed under Olympics – Rio de Janeiro

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