Dive! The Olympic moment everyone’s talking about

Posted by
Anna Pollitt

A sprinter has won Olympic gold by diving over the finish line in a victory that is tearing the internet in two.

Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas was leading the 400 metres final when US favourite Allyson Felix began a lightning challenge in the crucial final moments of the race.

Miller - sensing her rival speed into the lead - stumbles and launches into a desperate, last-ditch attempt to snatch the title from the world 400 metres champion.

shaunae miller

Shaunae Miller stretches over the finishing line

Fingertips outstretched, she hurls herself dramatically over the finish line in a skin-burning dive of sheer determination.

Miller, 22, remains on the ground, as Felix, 30, waits for the scoreboard to deliver its verdict: the Bahamian's impromptu and unorthodox move has snatched her gold by .07 seconds, with a race time of 49.44 seconds.

Watch the most dramatic win of the Olympics so far:

Then it was time for Felix to hit the decks as she considered her position.

The only thing I was thinking was the gold medal and the next thing I know I was on the ground.

Shaunae Miller, speaking to the BBC

“I don't know what happened," Miller said immediately after the race. “I've never done it before. I have cuts and bruises, a few burns.”

Read: “Why this drip-feed of sexist Olympics coverage has got to stop”

“I wanted to win," Felix said of her silver place. “It's been a tough year. I didn't quite do enough."

The dive blew up Twitter with a mixture of jokes, questions about the legality of the move - and sympathy for Felix:



And doubters...

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So, is it a legal move?

Absolutely. Here's the official line on body parts other than feet crossing the finish line in athletics:

“The athletes shall be placed in the order in which any part of their bodies (i.e. torso, as distinguished from the head, neck, arms, legs, hands or feet) reached the vertical plane of the nearer edge of the finish line.” -  International Association of Athletic Federations

It's also not the first finish-line dive in Olympic athletic history. At the 2008 Games, US sprinter David Neville took bronze by .004 seconds after diving in the 400 metres.

Images: Getty, Rex. Gif: Vox


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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