RIO DE JANEIRO (WWBT) - Paul Chelimo, a U.S. soldier and the 2014 winner of the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k, won the silver medal in the men's 5,000-meter race Saturday night. However, he almost had the medal taken away from him.
USA Today reported several runners were disqualified for breaking an IAAF rule, which states that "an athlete running on a bend ... shall not step or run on or inside the (line) marking the applicable border."
As a result, Bernard Lagat, who finished in sixth place, jumped up to bronze after Chelimo and two other runners were disqualified.
However, Chelimo did not learn that he was disqualified until he was being interviewed by NBC. He told the Washington Post he was standing by an NBC reporter and cameraman after the race.
"I had to wait two or three minutes before they had me live on the TV," he told the Washington Post. "I thought they were trying to interview me because I'm a silver medalist. They should have told me what was happening. I can't say for them. I don't know what happened. I was just disappointed. It's really sad for me because I heard it from a TV guy. The whole time, I didn't know."
Chelimo said receiving the news was "heartbreaking."
USA Track and Field filed for an appeal, and Chelimo's silver medal was reinstated 20 minutes later. Meanwhile, Lagat was bumped back down to sixth place.
An entire hour had passed between the end of the race and the final results.
Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.