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Rio Olympics: Shaunae Miller's 'Dive' That Denied Allyson Felix Gold Divides Twitter

by Alexander Smith /  / Updated 
Bahamas' Shaunae Miller divers over the finish line to win gold in the women's 400-meter final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.Matt Dunham / AP

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When Shaunae Miller dove across the finish line in the women's 400 meters Monday night, she not only claimed an Olympic gold medal but also sparked a heated debate about the ethics of her last-ditch move.

The Bahamian athlete left her feet in the final yards of the race, beating U.S. track star Allyson Felix by 0.07 seconds.

The move that led to a photo finish appeared to be legal. The rules state: "The first athlete whose torso … reaches the vertical plane of the closest edge of the finish line is the winner."

But the verdict on Twitter was not so clear cut.

Others were more charitable, suggesting that Miller's last act was unintentional...

...or even praiseworthy.

Felix referenced the controversial result on TODAY early Tuesday. She said she was "not too used to seeing" her competitors dive at the end of the race. "It happens every now and then but it's not too common," she said.

"It wasn't my best race," she admitted. "I felt like it got a little bit away from me."

In fact, diving for the line is not as unheard of as Felix made out — and Americans have used the tactic as much as anyone in recent years. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, it was a U.S. athlete, David Neville, who dove past a Bahamian, Chris Brown, to win bronze in the 400 meters.

And Felix's own teammate, Natasha Hastings, who finished fourth in Monday's race, dove last month to make the Olympic team in the first place.

As for Felix, she may not have bagged the gold she was hoping for, but her silver takes her up to seven Olympic medals in total since 2004 — including four golds. That puts her past Jackie Joyner-Kersee's record and makes her the most decorated U.S. female track athlete of all time.

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