Five female competitors were disqualified from the mixed team ski jump final in the Beijing Winter Olympics over uniform violations.
Their jumpsuits were allegedly deemed too large, which could give a skier a leg up during the event, according to multiple reports. The skiers disqualified from the Monday competition include Sara Takanashi of Japan, Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria, Katharina Althaus of Germany and Anna Odine Stroem and Silje Opseth of Norway.
Althaus told reporters after she was disqualified, “We were looking forward to the second competition at the Olympics. [The International Ski Federation] destroyed that with this action – they destroyed women’s ski jumping.
“Our names are now (out) there and we just pulled the crap card. That is how you destroy nations, development and the entire sport,” she added, Reuters reported.
International Ski Federation official Aga Baczkowska told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that it is up to each team to make sure their jumpsuits are compliant with the rules.
The International Ski Federation in a statement to USA TODAY said the competitors’ suits “were produced exclusively for the Olympic Games” and were not “previously tested” ahead of the final. The organization offered a test of the suits before the competition.
“The used suits that led to the disqualifications were too big and offered an aerodynamic advantage to the athlete,” the statement said.
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This year marked the first time the mixed team ski jumping event was included at a Winter Olympics. Countries that qualify for the event must enter two men and two women, according to NBC.
All of the competitors who were disqualified are women.
After the disqualifications, Opseth told reporters she wore the same suit to compete on Saturday without officials raising any issue.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m really just shaken. I’m sorry that I was disqualified today,” she said, Reuters reported.
Slovenia’s team won the gold medal in the event, while athletes with the Russian Olympic Committee won the silver and Canada took home the bronze.
Canada’s Abigail Strate said “Equipment is very important in sport and disqualifications happen.”
“It’s a very common thing to happen in ski jumping and the fact that it happened at the Olympics just goes to show that they were taking the rules pretty strictly and seriously because it is the absolute highest level of sport,” she said, Yahoo! reported.
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