EDMONTON, Alberta - The United States men's 400-meter relay team, notorious for being disqualified, was reinstated after first being DQd in the quarterfinals of the World Championships Saturday.
While the relay problems were occurring, an overlooked Anjanette Kirkland spoiled Gail Devers' bid for a fourth world title in the women's 100 hurdles.
While the relay runners had their difficulties, Kirkland, the world indoor 60 hurdles champion, ran the race of her life in upsetting Devers. Running on the inside lane and hardly noticed, Kirkland took advantage of a Devers mistake - hitting the eighth hurdle - and won in 12.42, the fastest in the world this year and a career best.
The sizzling performance made Kirkland the ninth-best performer in history.
The American men originally were declared winners of their heat in 38.83 seconds, but after long deliberations by the officials, the result was reversed because leadoff runner Jon Drummond apparently ran out of his lane.
However, Drummond was not called for a violation by the judge at that spot, and that was part of the U.S. protest after the disqualification. The DQ was judged on the basis of a video seen by the officials.
In his protest, USA Track & Field executive director Craig Masback pointed out that the judge in front of the alleged point of violation neither saw nor called a violation, and the video was not clear because of obstruction by the shadows of the track.
Besides, Masback contended that no unfair advantage was gained if there was a violation, which the Americans did not think happened.
After reviewing a replay of the race, the officials rescinded the disqualification and reinstated the Americans.
Drummond perhaps had a legitimate excuse for running near the line. He injured his right quadriceps with about 40 meters remaining, but kept going before handing off to Mickey Grimes.
"I just did what I had to do for my team," a teary-eyed, limping Drummond said. "I was feeling great, nothing was wrong. Then 50-60 meters in, I felt a twinge.
"Two steps more and I felt a hard crunch. At one point, my mind said stop, but I knew I had made a commitment to Mickey Grimes
"I told him this was his destiny, this was his dream. I told him I was going to evolve that dream into reality."
The Americans' history of messing up in the relay began with the 1912 Olympics, when they bungled a baton handoff, and Britain and Ireland tied for the gold. They had a problem again in 1960 in Rome and in 1988 at Seoul, not even getting past the first-round heats. They also fouled up at the 1995 and 1997 World Championships.
In 1995, Drummond and Tony McCall botched the first handoff. In 1997, leadoff runner Brian Lewis and Tim Montgomery, running the second leg, had a bad handoff.
Three other top contenders - Germany, Britain and Cuba - also were disqualified in their heats.
When she won the world indoor title in March in Lisbon, Portugal, Kirkland started on the outside lane, instead of the more favorable middle lanes.
Devers, seeking her sixth gold medal in the championships - she also has won in the 100 and one in the 400 relay - finished second with a season's best 12.54.
Olympic champion Olga Shishigina of Kazakstan finished third at 12.58, but it took nearly a half-hour to sort out a photo finish with Svetla Dimitrova of Bulgaria.
Ivan Pedroso of Cuba, a a four-time winner of the world indoor long jump title, won his fourth outdoor world title, soaring 27 feet, 6 3/4 inches.
Savante Stringfellow, the NCAA indoor and outdoor champion from Mississippi, finished second at 27-0 1/2 .
In the semifinals of the women's 400 relay, the U.S. team of Angela Williams, Chryste Gaines, Inger Miller and Torri Edwards finished second in its heat to France in 42.64.
In Saturday night's final, Kelli White, the bronze medalist in the 200, was to replace Williams, and Marion Jones, the 200 gold medalist, was to substitute for Edwards.
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