Thanks to a faulty timing system and blundering FINA officials, the women's 4 x 200-meter relay produced three winners and wasn't resolved for 15 hours. On the evening of July 25 the Australians touched the wall first, followed by the U.S. and Great Britain. FINA officials immediately disqualified the Aussies for jumping into the pool to celebrate before last-place Italy had finished. Then they DQ'd the U.S. team when the automatic timing system indicated that the second American swimmer, Cristina Teuscher, had left the blocks .06 of a second before her teammate Natalie Coughlin had touched the wall. (Rules permit a difference of up to .03 of a second.) That timing system, however, had been malfunctioning all evening—FINA had adjusted 10 finish times up to that point in the competition based on video evidence from a backup system.
Later that night, poolside referee Andriy Vlaskov of the Ukraine consulted the video, found Teuscher had left the blocks only .01 before Coughlin touched and reinstated the U.S. team, giving the Americans the gold. The next morning a FINA appeals jury refused to view the video, overturned Vlaskov's decision and gave the gold to Great Britain. "We've gone from third to second to first to second to first," said British swimmer Karen Legg, "so I'm a bit knackered."
FINA spokesman Sam Ramsamy, an IOC member from South Africa, clumsily defended FINA's actions at a Thursday press conference, and Australian coach Don Talbot called the decision makers a "kangaroo court." USA Swimming president Dale Neuberger said his federation will appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.