Shaunae Miller says her mind went blank ahead of her dive for gold in the women’s 400 metre final at Rio 2016.
The Bahamian runner lunged for the line in an apparent desperate bid to claim top spot on the podium on Monday, pipping Allyson Felix of the United States by 0.07 seconds.
But Miller – runner-up to Felix at last year’s World Championships – was at a loss to explain her actions at a post-race news conference.
“It all kind of happened,” she said of the tumble, which some believe was accidental. “My mind went completely blank and the next thing I was on the floor.”
And Miller says it was while she was laid out on the track that a shout from her mother alerted her to her Olympic triumph.
“While I was laying on the ground, she was looking at me like, ‘Get up, get up.’ And I was like, ‘Not right now, just leave me to catch myself real quick’,” she added.
“That’s how I found out. I was laying on the ground, the results hadn’t come out yet. I heard her scream and she was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ So I was like, ‘Ok, I had to have won the race’.”
Felix accepted that “rules are rules” but could not her disappointment at missing out on gold.
“I know it’s an accomplishment when I’m looking back but tonight the goal was to win and I fell short of that,” she explained.
“It hurts right now. I have to get through this moment and look back.”
Just as she had done in Beijing last year, Shericka Jackson of Jamaica took the bronze medal.