This semifinal was just like any other—vocal Brazilian crowd, starting pistol, a spot in the final on the line—only there was no one else on the track. In a slightly surreal scene, the U.S. women’s 4x100m team were granted a solo re-run after successfully protesting their disqualification in their heat earlier Thursday.
The team—Tianna Bartoletta in the blocks, Allyson Felix, English Gardner, and Morolake Akinosun as the anchor—dropped the baton on the second handoff in the morning’s heat. It looked for a moment like a nightmare replay of the 2008 Olympics, when the U.S. team fumbled a handoff and were disqualified in an early heat. But this time the Americans lodged an appeal, and replays showed Felix had indeed been bumped by a Brazilian runner.