In a stunning overruling of its own ruling, USATF has disqualified the now former USA Indoors 3000-meter champion Gabe Grunewald of Brooks Running and Team USA Minnesota.
Grunewald and fourth-place finisher Jordan Hasay made contact in the bell lap of the championship race. The field official raised the yellow flag indicating contact, Grunewald’s agent Paul Doyle says, but the head official decided that it was not grounds for disqualification and awarded Grunewald her first national title.
After the race, Nike Oregon Project’s Alberto Salazar, coach of Hasay and runner-up Shannon Rowbury, filed a protest. According to Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker and Doyle, that protest was overruled by the same head official that made the initial ruling on the track. The AlSal/Nike camp then appealed the ruling to a three-person USATF committee, which also ruled in Grunewald’s favor.
And that’s where the issue should have remained.
Instead, Barker says, there was “intense pressure” around the officials’
table, describing Nike employees as “hovering,” and according to Doyle, 20
minutes later, after the final ruling was made, the ruling was opened
Barker says that according to USATF rules, once the
complaint has been denied and the appeal fails, that’s the end of it
unless new information is presented. From what he could tell, USATF
simply reviewed the same tape it had already seen twice.
was DQ’d, Barker and Doyle confirm. USATF has not issued a statement,
and multiple attempts to contact them have not been answered.
filed his appeal on Grunewald’s behalf, which failed, and then appealed
to the committee (which had just ruled in his favor), which also
As it stands, Grunewald has been disqualified, and Barker
says Rowbury and Hasay are now being tapped for the national team. This
has not been confirmed, and USATF has not yet released the national
But meanwhile, there is a veritable shitstorm on
Twitter comprised of both fans and athletes as they voice their
displeasure for Salazar, Nike, and USATF.
In the meantime, Doyle
says the next step is to inform USATF that if Grunewald is not
reinstated, on Monday he will file a section nine arbitration petition.
Jesse Williams, Brooks Running Sports Marketing Manager, tweeted, “I
can tell you this . . . [Grunewald] will receive her bonus for being
Indoor National 3k Champion.”
“This is a girl that beat cancer
twice and has just made her first team, won her first national title,
and it’s being taken away from her,” Doyle says. “We just won’t stand
for it. It’s not the right decision, so we’re going to fight it to the