RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - For decades, coaches have told sprinters to `lean in' at the finish line.
Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas went one step further at the 400 meters in Rio: she dove head-first. The surprising move earned the 22-year-old Miller a gold medal and stunned American Allyson Felix, denying Felix a fifth career gold medal.
Miller who ran collegiately at the University of Georgia had taken an early lead, and then held off Felix's charge along the straightaway. Neck-and-neck with two steps to go, Miller tumbled across the line to win by .07 seconds.
Miller says didn't plan one of the most dramatic images seen at the Rio Olympics.
"I don't know what happened. My mind just went blank," Miller said. "The only thing I was thinking (about) was the gold medal, and the next thing I know, I was on the ground."
The former UGA track star edged ran a personal-best time to earn the gold medal.
Miller, who won the 2013 NCAA indoor title and was second at the national outdoor meet that year, came into the Games with two of the world’s top three 400m times this year. This is Miller’s second straight trip to the Olympics after she advanced in 2012 while still in high school. That year, she only competed in the qualifying round.
This is the Bulldogs’ first track and field medal of the Games and 13th in history. It is the first for the Lady Bulldogs since Hyleas Fountain won the silver medal in the heptathlon in 2008. A fellow native of the Bahamas, five-time Olympian Debbie Ferguson, was the last current or former competitor from the Georgia women’s team to win a gold medal (4x100m relay, 2000).