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Baseball legend and modern day philosopher Yogi Berra has an oft-quoted expression: “It’s never over until it’s over.”  That maxim may well apply to the last lap tangle between Gabe Grunewald and Jordan Hasay that marred an otherwise exciting and poignant 3000 meter championship race at the USA Indoor Nationals.

The incident – which occurred just after the bell – appeared to involve the type of non-intentional contact that is not uncommon in championship racing.  Nobody fell, but some bumping with the Brooks athlete caused Nike’s Hasay to be knocked off-stride and lose rhythm while Grunewald – a two-time cancer survivor – raced on to a convincing victory.  Apparently.  Hasay’s coach Alberto Salazar lodged a protest which was denied as was Salazar’s subsequent appeal.  Virtually all thought that the original race results were now final.  Not so.  Hours after the arena was empty and the track was dark, USATF interceded and disqualified Grunewald – thereby positioning runner up Shannon Rowbury and third-placer Hasay to be named to the world team.

The following afternoon USATF issued a women’s 3000m summary that offered insight into the unusual sequence of events.  The summary revealed that the ultimate reversal was made by the  3-person appellate review board appointed by the USATF Games Committee – not by USATF leadership – and was supported by new evidence.  The summary noted that, “the Jury of Appeal then reviewed additional video evidence and reversed their initial ruling.”

All of this raises important issues surrounding the role of officials, the protest procedure, the power of brands, corporate bullying, and the effectiveness of a high decibel appellate process.  It might even prompt Yogi to declare, “It’s not over.”

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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