U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Cody Miller released his latest video on his Youtube channel this afternoon, wherein he discussed his disqualification in the the 4×100 mixed medley relay at the Pan American Games, and how he is going to change going forward. If this is the first you’re reading about the disqualification, Miller was called for doing multiple dolphin kicks off the turn in finals of the mixed medley relay. Team USA had finished first by a very large margin, and the disqualification wasn’t announced until shortly before the teams were set to go out for the awards ceremony.
Even after it was announced that the Americans had been DQ’d, it took additional time for it to come out that the disqualification was for multiple dolphin kicks off the breaststroke turn. Miller starts his video by discussing the confusion of the events post-race, and how the US athletes and coaches learned about the disqualification. According to Miller, the relay team had grabbed their things, walked through the media zone, checked in at doping control, then headed to the Team USA team area to get their podium gear. “[We} put our podium gear on, walked to the medal ready room… by that time, 20 minutes had passed since we finished the race, and no one from Team USA had been notified that we had been disqualified.” Miller went on to say that at that point, they ran back to the USA team area, where the team manager had just been notified and was trying to figure out what the disqualification was for. It was during the medal ceremony that Miller says Team USA finally learned that it was he who had been DQ’d on his underwater off the breaststroke turn.
After learning the reasoning for the DQ, Miller says he and the Team USA coaches sat down to watch the race video in order to see the infraction. “We only have over-water footage. They won’t give us the underwater footage, or they don’t have underwater footage, I’m not sure.” Miller includes the overhead footage in the beginning of his video. The clarity of the video is not great, and the angle is such that, you can’t really see the initial dolphin kick very well, let alone any potential additional kicks.
Cody then uses the middle section of the video to talk about the rules of a breaststroke pullout, and how there is a grey area for officials to decide what is considered a kick, and what is just unintentional motion from other body movements. A swimmer is allowed a single dolphin kick underwater off starts and turns when swimming breaststroke. That dolphin kick can occur in one of two places: 1) a dolphin kick can be done after pushing off the wall and before starting the breaststroke underwater pullout. 2) the dolphin kick can be done during the underwater pullout, simultaneously as the arms are pulling down.
What Miller was disqualified for, doing multiple dolphin kicks off a turn, is a relatively common breaststroke DQ. It occurs when a swimmer uses the first dolphin kick before starting the pullout, then does another dolphin kick while doing the pull-down portion of the pullout. The second kick could be intentional, of course, but it can also be an unintentional result of the motion of quickly snapping the arms down.
Miller then announces that he’s come to a decision on how to fix the issue going forward. Since he has been DQ’d for doing multiple breaststroke kicks several times over the past decade, he has decided the safest way to avoid getting disqualified in the future is to change when he does the dolphin kick in his pullout. Miller has been, like most elite breaststrokers, doing his dolphin kick before starting his pullout. In his video, he announces that he will be changing that, to instead just do the dolphin kick during the pullout.
Miller’s full statement: “So, what I’m going to do to ensure that I never get disqualified again, to ensure that there’s no grey area, there’s no – without a shadow of a doubt – I’m not doing anything illegal, is change the technique of my pullout back to the early 2000s-style pullout. Which means that I will be dolphin kicking with my pull-down simultaneously. That’s what I’m going to do for literally the remainder of my career.”
Miiller says that he was uncertain about whether to make this video, but decided to do so because he was being asked by a lot of kids about how to move forward from this kind of thing.
“I also want people to see my struggle,” Miller said. “I don’t want anybody to feel bad for me or pity me, that’s not what I’m saying. I just want people to understand that I’m human. When I hear things about me, it hurts. I hate the fact that I have this reputation, that I have a reputation for this kind of thing. I don’t like it. I wish I didn’t. But I have to own it.”
Miller then goes on to relate the disqualifications that he’s faced with other tough life events that he’s faced in his life. He talks about his father dying 6 months before the US Olympic Swimming Trials, very close friends of his committing suicide while he was in college, his dad’s drug and alcohol problems, and says that this is how he gets through moments like these. He says that he’s coped with those things by “doing things that (he) loves,” like swimming. He says that he threw himself into swimming in those moments, and that he plans to do the same here.
Here is Cody’s full video: