By Annie Ross

The United States’ fate in the men’s Olympic 4×100-meter relay final was sealed last night in the split second where Justin Gatlin’s hand first made contact with the baton.

The track and field world has a multitude of rules and regulations, but Rule 170.7, the one that cost the American team a bronze medal it thought it had safely secured, is relatively simple.

“The baton shall be passed within the takeover zone,” it reads. “The passing of the baton commences when it is first touched by the receiving athlete and is completed the moment it is in the hand of only the receiving athlete. Passing of the baton outside the takeover zone shall result in disqualification.”

After crossing the line in third, the U.S. missed out on bronze due to being disqualified. Usain Bolt’s Jamaican team claimed gold, with Japan in silver and Canada moving up to bronze.

The problem occurred on the changeover between the first and second leg. Mike Rodgers led off for the U.S. and motioned to hand over the baton to Gatlin. However, the point of contact clearly appeared to be before Gatlin had entered the changeover zone.

Gatlin said afterwards that he didn’t believe in good or bad luck, only “good preparation.” His preparation had looked to be meticulous, as he carefully

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