Beijing 2022: What went wrong on Day 2 of the competition in short track speed skating? ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


7 février 2022

Beijing 2022: What went wrong on Day 2 of the competition in short track speed skating?

Editorial by Carl Savard
Photo by Martin Holtom

Having a bad day at work while the world is watching is never a good situation. In 30 years of following short track speed skating and over 10 years of being close to the athletes and other actors of the sport, I’ve seen my share of times when many fans and skaters reacted strongly to a day of competition. Today was one of those. When you’re part of a sport that screams for recognition outside of the Olympics, it would be so much better if things could always go smoothly. Sadly, from time to time you will get a chaotic day. The ice condition could be bad and be the cause of many falls, leading to many incidents and therefore many decisions having to be made by the referees. The stakes can be higher than usual and bring additional stress for athletes and the officiating committee. This second day of competition in the short track speed skating event of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games was a chaotic one. Mainly, but not only, because of the 1000m final on the men’s side of the competition.

Questionable decisions happened first in the semifinals. In one of the race, Wu Dajing could have been penalized for a S2 penalty on Itzhak de Laat (S2 penalty is In the straight / Lane change / From inside to outside causing contact). Maybe if de Laat would have sold it like some other skaters do it would have been called a penalty but that’s not how de Laat operates. With three laps to go and the skaters battling for 4th place, it may have been seen as something minor but considering Wu ended up being in the final because of other race incidents, this non-decision still means something. It’s nothing compared to the decision that was made in the other semi-final though. Halfway through the race, after having been blocked by Li Wenlong, Hwang Dae Heon outwitted the Chinese by moving inside while Li was looking outside. A superb manoeuver which propelled Hwang from 3rd place to the lead. Li was surprised by the move and lost speed but he was not physically pushed by Hwang. “Look at that phenomenal move by Hwang Dae Heon. That was textbook!” That’s how it was described by two-time olympic medallist and 2011 world champion on 1500m Katherine Reutter on the NBC broadcast. That’s also how it was seen by fans and an army of skaters around the world. That’s the kind of beauty on ice that can bring new fans to the sport. Now instead we just told them it’s not what the sport is about. The referee called it a S6 Penalty - Illegal Late Pass | causing Contact. A lot of us have looked at it countless times today and just can’t come to the same conclusion. That penalty didn’t happen because of what Hwang did, that penalty happened because Li couldn’t take the heat and got out of the kitchen. Sadly for the sport, that’s not what the man taking the decisions saw. 

And then there was the A final. After two laps at a good pace, the race was recalled but the skaters kept skating for more than a lap before they could hear the whistle. When it was time to relaunch the race, it was pretty clear that things could become hectic. We ended up with a lackluster final, with plenty of arm push from most of the tired skaters, a yellow card given to Liu Shaolin Sandor and skaters on the podium that could have been penalized during the race but were not. 

Following the events, Korea complained about Hwang’s penalty and Hungary also wanted the referee to reevaluate his decision about the final. They were told they didn’t have the right to protest but the referee would still look at it. You can find the ISU answer HERE.

An answer that may not satisfy you. I know it didn’t satisfy me.

Today was not a good day for short track.

Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter, follow our Facebook page, our Instagram account and our Twitter account for daily news and results about speed skating.

0 commentaires:

Publier un commentaire