RIO DE JANEIRO — A valiant effort by Allyson Felix to overcome an ankle injury that threatened to derail her Olympic dreams months before she reached Rio wasn’t quite enough for her to win gold in the women’s 400-meter dash on Monday night, when Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dived at the line and won the race by perhaps half an arm’s length.
Miller won with a time of 49.44 seconds, to a season-best 49.51 for Felix, who grew up in Los Angeles and attended USC. Shericka Jackson of Jamaica was third in 49.85.
No one was initially sure who had won. Miller, gasping for air after holding off Felix’s late surge, fell forward onto the track and rolled over onto her back. Felix sat on the track, arms clasped around her knees, as she looked to the scoreboard for the result.
The crowd at Olympic Stadium let loose a roar when Miller’s name was listed first, followed by Felix.
Felix won the gold medal in the 200-meter dash at the London Games four years ago and had hoped to pursue a 200-400 double here. However, a training accident that damaged ligaments in her ankle in late April led her to struggle at the U.S. Olympic trials and she didn’t make the team in the 200 and so was unable to defend her title. However, she is expected to run both the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relays here.
Running in Lane 4 on a track dampened by rain that had delayed the start of several races, she made a strong surge down the stretch and appeared in position to win. But that’s when Miller made her desperate and successful dive and came up a winner.