Protests rearrange 200-meter medals

Aug. 20, 2008 at 9:52 PM
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BEIJING, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A series of early-morning protests Thursday changed the medal order for the Olympic 200-meter dash, although Usain Bolt's victory in the race still stands.

Bolt ran a world record 19.30 Wednesday to break Michael Johnson's mark and become the ninth man to win both the Olympic 100 and 200 in the same year.

After the race, however, protests began flying. Almost immediately, American Wallace Spearmon, who crossed the finish line in third place, was disqualified for stepping outside his lane. With Spearmon out of medal contention, the bronze went to the fourth place finisher -- Shawn Crawford of the United States.

American track and field officials, in an attempt to support Spearmon, protested his disqualification.

After looking at replays of the race, the officials agreed Spearmon had stepped out of his lane. Those replays, however, indicated that silver medal winner Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles also had stepped out of his lane.

A protest was filed by the Americans concerning Martina and, eventually, he was disqualified as well. That cost Netherlands Antilles what would have been its second Olympic medal in history and elevated the runner who finished fifth all the way up to the bronze medal.

That was American Walter Dix, who also won a bronze in the 100.

The rearranging of the medals gave the United States one more than it had previously and going into Thursday's action the Americans had a three-medal lead over China in the overall total.

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