Why was Team USA’s mixed 4×400 team disqualified — then reinstated — at Tokyo Olympics?

Team USA’s mixed 4×400 meter relay team faced an emotional rollercoaster on Friday after they were disqualified — and later reinstated — because of an illegal baton pass in the inaugural Olympic event.

It appeared as if Team USA handily won their heat on Friday, finishing with a time of 3:11.38 ahead, well ahead of the rest of the field. But the team was informed after the event concluded that they had been disqualified for an illegal baton pass; video of the incident shows Elija Godwin giving the baton to Lynna Irby — the latter of whom ran the second leg of the rce — outside the pass zone. Video shows Irby lined up well beyond the other racers in her leg.

Below is the full event, the illegal baton pass and a post-race interview in which the runners were informed they had been disqualified:

Following the conclusion of Friday’s heat, NBC’s Lewis Johnson informed the mixed 4×400 relay team they were disqualified. Before he broke the news, however, he asked Irby to review a replay of the exchange and explain what happened.

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