With less than a lap to go in Wednesday’s 5,000-meter heat, U.S. runner Hassan Mead was running with the lead group, in perfect position to easily qualify for Saturday’s final.
But that’s not the way things panned out, as Mead got tangled up with Great Britain’s Mo Farah when Farah made an inside move with 250 meters to go. Farah, who won 10,000-meter gold earlier in Rio, was able to stay up on his feet, but Mead tumbled to the track. He finished well off qualifying pace in 13th, while Farah moved on to the final.
Many, including Mead’s teammate, Bernard Lagat, were confident that Mead would be granted a spot in the final given the circumstances. One day earlier, the IAAF awarded spots in the women’s 5,000-meter final to U.S. runner Abby D’agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin after they took a nasty spill with over a mile to go in the qualifying heats.
But Mead’s appeal was denied, prompting many, including Mead’s teammate Bernard Lagat, to speak out against the IAAF’s subjective appeals process.
— Bernard Lagat (@Lagat1500) August 17, 2016
????what?! Been a lot of falls but this appeal seemed most reasonable of the meet https://t.co/lGRTLwV2ed
— Molly Huddle (@MollyHuddle) August 17, 2016
— Kara Goucher (@karagoucher) August 17, 2016
Oregon Track Club Elite, where Mead trains, posted a message of support on the group’s Instagram page.
How about this for an “Olympic moment”? @hassyhass35 ended up on the floor this morning with 200 to go, clearly in qualification position. He, like the other athletes, got up and got on with it. The embrace and acknowledge of mutual respect from the legend @lagat1500 came after the race. One has to wonder if the situation played out in the manner the fall in the Women's 5k did, whether or not the outcome of the appeal would have been different. This is no knock on the athletes in yesterday's fall. They fought bravely and burned an image of the Olympic spirit into our minds. One cannot escape the apparent inconsistencies in the ruling however. Hassan ran like a boss, and to be denied because the narrative of “just take care of business” isn't as striking as that of undoubted sportsmanship is a travesty. We have your back big man.
“One has to wonder if the situation played out in the manner the fall in the Women’s 5k did, whether or not the outcome of the appeal would have been different,” the comment read. “This is no knock on the athletes in yesterday’s fall. They fought bravely and burned an image of the Olympic spirit into our minds.
“One cannot escape the apparent inconsistencies in the ruling however.
Hassan ran like a boss, and to be denied because the narrative of “just take care of business” isn’t as striking as that of undoubted sportsmanship is a travesty.
“We have your back big man.”
We're gonna need to bring Johnnie Cochran back from the dead and fly him to Rio to file an appeal to get @HassyHass35 into this final.
— Patrick Casey (@patkc13) August 17, 2016
So they advanced two women who fell over a mile from the finish but not @HassyHass35 when he was only 200 from it and was rolling?????
— Cory Glines (@Cornelius94) August 17, 2016
— Bryant Blahnik (@bcblahnik) August 17, 2016
Some online suggested that Farah’s move into Mead was intentional and that he should have been disqualified for encroaching upon him.
Give our man @HassyHass35 a FAIR chance at the final he clearly deserves to be in. Guy is pure class in every way.
— trevor dunbar (@DunbarTrevor) August 17, 2016
Wait why isn't @HassyHass35 is this final when Mo clearly cuts into him?
— Klecker (@JoeKleckerxc) August 17, 2016
Mead himself weighed in on Twitter, maintaining his innocence.
@Aric_vh I didn't even move from my spot????????????
— Hassan mead (@HassyHass35) August 17, 2016