Shaunae Miller takes Gold for The Bahamas in Rio
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Aug 16, 2016 - 11:39:33 PM

Shaunae Miller ends the 400m with a dive across the finish line. (Photo: Oliver Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

BRAZIL -- Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller collected the first medal for The Bahamas at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Monday, August 15th in the 400 m.

The race is causing quite the stir as Miller dived across the finish line to take gold and beat out USA's Allyson Felix's time of 49.51; and Jamaica's Shericka Jackson with 49.85.  Miller's time was 49.44 (a personal best), edged out Felix by a mere 0.07 seconds. 

Her dive, which is being talked up and memed on social media was perfectly legal as   Miller's torso crossed the finish line first, making her the clear winner according to the International Association of Athletic Federations rulebook: "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..." (Rule 164, IAAF Rules 2006-2007).

In response to the controversy, Miller told Reuters, "I see a lot of people that are saying 'Oh, she dove for the line,'" she said.

"It's not like that, 'cause I wouldn't have thrown my body down to catch all these bruises and cuts. But you know it happened, I lost all control of my legs, and I ended up falling.

"So I figured, why not fall across the line instead of falling backward to the left. And you know, it just worked out in my favor."

Michael Duane Johnson, a retired American sprinter who won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships gold medals, and is the former record holder in the world and Olympic records in the 200 m and 400 m as well as the world record in the indoor 400 m tweeted, "Shaunae Miller's dive was to recover from falling. Sprinters know the quickest way across the line is a well timed lean. Trust me on that."

Johnson also tweeted, "Shaunae Miller unbelievable effort diving for the finish line to take the 400, one of the best moments of the Games so far! Amazing race!"

The Prime Minister of the Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, in his congratulatory message said, " What a magnificent victory by our Shaunae Miller at the Rio Olympics yesterday!  It will forever stand as one of those truly iconic moments in Bahamian history.

Shaunae gave it her all and then reached down into the deepest part of her being to summon up new resources of courage, will-power, determination and strength at the exact moment when she needed them most. Shaunae then crossed the finish line in first and in so doing rode into Bahamian history, capturing the admiration of the entire world in the process.

Shaunae’s victory is so emblematic of our greatness as a people. We never give up. We push above our weight. We fight with all our might, and we go for the gold with every sinew at our command. Shaunae showed us, and all the world, the best we are and the very best we can become."

Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson, MP, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture sent the following message, "The Government and the people of the Bahamas extend congratulations to our newest Golden Girl: Shaunae Miller for her outstanding, breathtaking Gold Medal performance at the XXXI Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Shaunae has cemented her status as one of The Bahamas’ greatest 400m athletes.

We applaud her for her unselfishness and dedication in representing her country in the discipline of Track and Field in a superlative manner at a world-class level. Her sacrifices and efforts have now come to fruition.

Once again, on behalf of the Government and the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, it gives me great pleasure to convey congratulations on a job well done. You have made our nation proud.

We wish her continued success on the road ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell has instructed all offices of The Bahamas overseas to put in the front of house today the largest possible photo of Shaunae Miller crossing the finish line in the 400 metre Olympic race in Brazil on 15 August, with the word: CONGRATULATIONS.

Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Hubert Minnis said, "Millers victorious DIVE demonstrated the true Bahamian spirit of unmatched determination.  She is to be commended for her years of hard work, training, and commitment to excellence.  Her performance transcends all national divides and offers great cause for a collective celebration.  She is our latest Golden Queen.  Congratulations go out to the entire Team Bahamas representing our nation in Brazil.  We remain confident that more medals lie ahead at these games."

Congrats Shaunae! Congrats Bahamas!!

Photo finish! (Photo: Oliver Morin/AFP/Getty Images)


Shaunae Miller at the end of the 400m in Rio. (Photos: Oliver Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Rio Olympics)

(Photo: Rio Olympics)

Support from The Bahamas in the stands. (Photo: Bahamas Olympic Committee)

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