A day after the U.S. 4x100-meter men’s relay team was disqualified in Rio due to a bad baton exchange, it looked like another runner would lose a medal due to an infraction.
Paul Chelimo finished second Saturday in the 5000-meter race, but Olympic officials disqualified him, only to reinstate his finish about an hour later.
Race officials initially said Chelimo had a lane infringement, i.e. he stepped over the out-of-bounds line. A replay showed that he did. But according to the IAAF, Chelimo was reinstated after the U.S. federation officially protested the DQ.
His time of 13:03.90 is a personal best.
When Chelimo was initially told about the disqualification by NBC during its live broadcast, it was thought that officials flagged him for impeding another runner when he cut to the outside. He disagreed.
“I was trying to get to the outside,” Chelimo told NBC. “I was trying to save myself from all of the pushing.”
Chelimo is Kenyan-born but joined Team USA through the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, according to the Associated Press. He was a runner at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro before enlisting in the Army, earning U.S. citizenship and joining the athlete program. He’s currently a water treatment specialist for the Army.
Because of Chelimo's disqualification, fellow U.S. runner Bernard Lagat moved up in the standings and was on the verge of receiving a bronze medal until the ruling was overturned. Two other runners also were disqualified after the race won by Great Britain's Mo Farah.