American runner Paul Chelimo thought he was about to be interviewed on NBC as the silver medalist in the men’s 5,000 meters. Instead he found out he had been disqualified.
Chelimo had just crossed the finish line moments earlier, second to race favourite Mo Farrah of Great Britain. It was seemingly a fantastic finish for the Kenyan-born American.
Instead NBC’s Lewis Johnson starts his interview by saying, “Paul, I am getting some information here that you have been disqualified in this final.”
Needless to say, Chelino’s reaction is one of complete shock.
After several moments of silence, Chelimo finally said under his breath, “Disqualified? No, no, no.”
Chelimo appears to have been disqualified over contact that occured on the final lap. Johnson showed Chelimo the video who tried to explain the contact, noting that he felt other runners had blocked him towards the inside and weren’t letting him move to an outer lane.
“I was trying to go to the outside to get in position,” Chelimo said. “They were blocking me in. They were pushing me into the rail. I was trying to save myself from all of the pushing.”
Here is some of the contact on the back stretch with about 300 meters to go. Chelimo is in blue.
“I can’t believe it,” Chelimo continued. “I was running a fair race. I wasn’t trying to pick someone. I was trying to go to the outside because the Cuban guy kept blocking me the whole time.”
The U.S. coaches can appeal the decision.
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