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Adam Jude / Special to The Forum, Published June 30 2012

Perham's Anderson back in 1,500 final after disqualification overturned

EUGENE, Ore. – She beat cancer – twice. She beat dozens of other elite runners this past week to move one step closer to her Olympic dream.

And after a tumultuous turn of events Saturday, Gabriele Anderson beat a controversial ruling by USA Track & Field.

On Friday night, the Perham, Minn., native was disqualified from the women’s 1,500-meter final for bumping another runner several hours earlier during a semifinal race. Anderson’s coach, Dennis Barker, filed an immediate protest, and the USATF jury of appeals reversed the ruling Saturday afternoon, reinstating Anderson for today’s final.

“Thank God I’m back in the final. Gabe has been reinstated,” Anderson posted on her Twitter account. “Thanks everybody for the support through this drama! Time to chill & get ready to roll tomorrow.”

The women’s 1,500 final is scheduled to start at 6:23 p.m. CDT today.

Anderson, the 26-year-old former University of Minnesota standout, has an outside shot to make her first U.S. Olympic Team. It won’t be easy: She will need a top-three finish and the Olympic “A” standard time of 4 minutes, 6.00 seconds to advance to London.

She came up just short of that standard earlier this year when she ran a personal-best 4:06.46.

Anderson beat a rare form of cancer in 2009, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and was then diagnosed thyroid cancer in 2010. She was successfully treated for both.

Anderson’s initial disqualification caused a stir in “Track Town, USA” on Saturday morning. About a dozen people chanted “Let Gabe run!” for a short video for a popular track blog, and Anderson received a number of supportive messages on Twitter.

Barker, Anderson’s coach with Team USA Minnesota in Minneapolis, was notified at 8:30 p.m. CDT Friday that Anderson had been disqualified for bumping.

Barker, after watching tape of the semifinal race, told Anderson the news on Saturday morning.

A USATF official said Anderson was disqualified for “jostling” with fellow runner Amy Mortimer, who had filed a protest after the race. Anderson finished second in her semifinal in 4:10.08, the seventh-best time overall.

Mortimer did not advance to the final.

“I don’t understand why it would be grounds for DQ,” Anderson told Race Results Weekly on Saturday morning, before she was reinstated. “Nobody was even close to falling.”

Anderson said that Mortimer had come into her lane with 300 meters to go and that she had simply defended her position.

“If you watch (the replay), she comes right in on my lane and I pushed back,” Anderson said.

The USATF jury sided with Anderson in the appeal. Alice Schmidt, who took Anderson’s place after the initial disqualification, was allowed to stay in the 1,500 final even after Anderson’s appeal was granted.

“The jury of appeals has met and will be advancing 13 people to the final of the 1500m, including Gabriele Anderson,” the USATF said in a statement.