Gabriele Anderson Disqualified from Olympic Trials 1500m

By David Monti
June 30, 2012

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

EUGENE, Ore. (30-Jun) -- Team USA Minnesota's Gabriele Anderson has twice beaten cancer, but she was handed a big defeat this morning when she found out that she had been disqualified from the second heat of yesterday's women's 1500m semi-finals for impeding another runner.  Anderson, who represents Brooks and had finished second to Shannon Rowbury in 4:10.08, was disqualified based on a protest from another athlete, Amy Mortimer, with whom Anderson had made contact during the race.

"I don't understand why it would be grounds for DQ," Anderson told Race Results Weekly in a telephone interview this morning.  "Nobody was even close to falling."

Anderson, who was the 2010 NCAA 1500m runner-up for the University of Minnesota, said that Mortimer had come into her lane and that she had simply defended her position.

"If you watch (the replay) she comes right in on my lane and I pushed back," Anderson explained.

According to USA Track & Field officials, Anderson was disqualified after a review of video evidence yesterday evening.

"After the women's 1500 meters, a protest was filed against Gabriele Anderson for jostling with about 300 meters left in her semi-final," said USA Track & Field marketing and communications officer Katie Branham in a statement provided to Race Results Weekly.  "Meet referees reviewed the race tape and disqualified her at approximately 6:30 p.m."

Anderson submitted her petition to meet officials this morning appealing for reinstatement.  She said that she was hoping for the best, and was "going to operate like I'm racing on Sunday."

According to the start list on the Olympic Trials website for Sunday's final, Alice Schmidt --who had already locked in an Olympic Team berth by finishing third in the 800m on Monday-- has now been promoted to a finals qualifier by virtue of being the new fifth place finisher.  Schmidt, a 2008 Olympian, did not file a protest and did not know about the controversy until she was informed by her manager, Dan Lilot, this morning.

Anderson, 26, had an outside chance of making the Olympic Team at these Trials, but it is remarkable that she can even compete at a national level given her medical history.  She had a rare form of cancer in in 2009, adenoid cystic carcinoma, then had thyroid cancer in 2010.  She was successfully treated for both, and was thrilled to be competing in her first Olympic Trials - until this morning.

"Nobody notified me that I had been DQ'd," Anderson said, explaining that her coach Dennis Barker had called her this morning to break the news.  "When I went to bed I was still a 'Q.'"

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