Just before the starting gun had fired in Rio, Campbell had moved on the blocks. She then swam the entire race in the belief that she would be disqualified.
To this day, Campbell doesn’t know for certain whether she moved enough to warrant being disqualified. The officials no longer drop a false start rope to rein in any swimmers who have left the blocks early. Instead, they allow the race to be swum to the finish and only then break the shattering news to any transgressors.
The fact that no blazer-wearing official was waiting for her as she left the pool isn’t convincing proof in her eyes that she hadn’t made a false start. It might simply have been that she had finished sixth, well out of the medals, and the officials were content to let sleeping dogs lie. Had she recovered from the mishap to win gold, silver or bronze … then, perhaps it might have been a different story.
“No, no, I moved,” Campbell told The Australian. “But I might have been still enough to move again when the starting signal went.”
Read The Australian