Posted Aug 11, 2012By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
LONDON (AP) — Justyn Warner spiked the flag down onto the track.
What was supposed to be a celebration lap for the Canadians turned into an Olympic moment Warner wished he could forget.
Moments after taking third in the 4×100-meter final on Saturday night, Canada was disqualified for stepping outside of its lane.
The bronze medal was gone. And so was a chance to be part of a medal ceremony along with Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans, who beat the United States in a world-record time of 36.84 seconds.
The difficult part for Warner was not really knowing why his team was disqualified from the race. They were wrapped in flags and just about to set out on a slow jog around the track to soak up the moment when Warner happened to glance at the scoreboard.
That’s when his heart pounded even more than when he sprinted his section of race.
When his team finished, there was a time by his country’s name.
And when he looked up again five minutes later, all that appeared was a big “DQ.”
“I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened,” Warner said as he sobbed. “I put everything into that. It just showed up as ‘DQ.’ We ran a good race. We got the job done.
“It’s the dream to get the medal. We won it. We worked hard for this, to prove all the disbelievers wrong, and got it taken away.”
So incensed was Warner that he tossed the Canadian flag to the ground. Immediately after it left his hand, he regretted his actions.
“I didn’t mean to throw it,” Warner explained. “It’s hard. It’s not any of our faults.”
Jared Connaughton blamed himself for the blunder. He said the lane infraction occurred on the third section, soon after he took the baton.
“When I looked up on the screen, I saw the replay and I could see that I stepped on the line,” Connaughton said. “It’s pretty unforgivable. I am sad and sorry for my teammates. It is sad to have happened like this.”
The Canadians appealed the disqualification, but it was rejected. Trinidad & Tobago was bumped from fourth to the bronze.
“My emotions went from two extremes — sad to ecstatic,” said Richard Thompson, who ran the anchor leg for Trinidad.
After receiving their bronze medals, the Trinidad sprinters jumped up onto the top step of the podium and mugged with Bolt and his team.
That could’ve been Warner and his Canadian teammates, but they lost what would’ve been the country’s second medal on the track in London. Derek Drouin’s bronze in the high jump is Canada’s lone medal.
“It’s devastating,” Gavin Smellie said. “I never expected this at all. We ran and won the medal and we were happy. Now, it’s just really devastating.”
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