All Allyson Felix knew in the moments after she crossed the finish line on Monday was that it had been close. And that Shaunae Miller was already prone on the track next to her.
But the reality set in with one glance at the screen displaying the results – Miller’s dive over the finish line had given the Bahamian victory in the 400 metres at Rio 2016 by seven one-hundredeths of a second.
It was a realisation that left the American deflated.
“I wasn’t quite sure who’d won, you never are when it’s that close,” Felix said. “It’s always hard after a 400 and I was physically and emotionally drained. I was just thinking ‘disappointment.’ It has been a tough year, but I just really wanted it.”
The four-time gold medallist looked to be reeling Miller in after her opponent’s fast start, but could not beat her to the line.
“I tried to give it all I have, but I didn’t have any more to give in the last 10 metres,” she said. “I’ll have to look back at the race but I might have been a bit more aggressive.”
Near tears as she met with the media later, Felix said she never thought about lunging like Miller did. Miller herself conceded it was something she had never done before.
But missing out on gold by that margin, with memories of her back-to-back silvers in the 200m behind Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2004 and 2008 inevitably there to recall, had Felix lamenting a missed opportunity in Rio.
“It’s a little bittersweet now,” she added. “I’m a competitor and I went for it, so in this moment it’s painful.”