The 2022 Winter Olympics at Beijing is mired in controversy, with many countries boycotting the same because of various issues. The US, UK, and Canada have declared a diplomatic boycott, with the US citing China “human rights abuses and atrocities int he Xinjiang” against the local Muslim population. India has also declared a diplomatic boycott, because of a border skirmish as have other countries like Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia.
The bad food and poor quality of COVID hotels is another issue being raised. And now, five female ski jumpers from four major ski jumping nations have been disqualified over “aerodynamic” uniforms. Here’s what we know.
Germany, Japan, Austria & Norway Disqualified From Beijing Olympics
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On Monday’s mixed team ski jumping event at the Beijing Winter Olympics, five female competitors were taken out of the competition. These were Norway’s Silje Opseth and Anna Odine Stroem, Japan’s Sara Takanashi, Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, and Germany’s Katharina Althaus. The reason behind disqualifying them was that their suits were deemed too big.
The four jumpers from major ski-jumping nations, Germany, Austria, Norway, and Japan, were all taken out of the competition post the official inspection. The officials from the International Ski Federation (FIS) claimed that their uniforms were “loose” and the looseness would give them an unfair advantage in jumping, helping them soar through the air.
German Olympian Katharina Althaus looked visibly upset after the dismissal and voiced her displeasure loud and clear. Althaus made a tearful declaration, “We were so happy to have a second event (for women) here at the Olympics. The FIS destroyed everything with this operation. I think they have destroyed women’s ski jumping. I don’t know what they’re trying to do.”
She continued saying, “I have been checked so many times in 11 years of ski jumping, and I have never been disqualified once, I know my suit was compliant,” before she burst into tears.
The Coaches Complied But Backed Athletes
Athalus’ coach shared the disappointment with the sudden disqualification, and stated his case, in a milder fashion. “It is just strange that they have been using the same suits yesterday and there was no problem. It is annoying that this happens at the Winter Olympic Games. This should all be cleared before.”
Norway added its voice to the same as well, with Norwegian ski jumping chief of sports Clas Brede Braathen making a statement. Said he, “I am sorry on behalf of ski jumping. This is something we should have cleaned up before the Olympics. The sport of ski jumping has experienced one of its darker days today.”
He continued saying, “I’m lost for words, really. This is very painful for athletes. I’m in pain on behalf of our sport. We were going to introduce a new event.”
He also made a rather valid point, saying, “The girls were to get a new event in the Olympics, and that’s how it ends. And why are only girls being disqualified?”
Wrote Nordic ski jumper Silje Ospeth, “Lost for words. Just really sorry, sad, and empty. Need some time to process this whole Olympic experience.”
Wrote her male teammates, Halvor Silje and Ac Milan, “Love you silje you did absolutely everything right let’s push for things that we can change those are called the future.”
Beijing Olympics Called A “Parody”
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Horst Huttel, Germany’s head of Nordic events reportedly said, “This is a parody, but I am not laughing … It is outrageous that this happens with the four biggest ski-jump nations.”
Meanwhile, the International Ski Federation told People Magazine that the “suits used were produced exclusively for the Olympic Games and were therefore not previously tested by the FIS EC.”
They also continued saying, “A test of the suits had been offered by the FIS competition management to all teams before the competitions. Only a few teams took this opportunity. The used suits that led to the disqualifications were too big and offered an aerodynamic advantage to the athlete. There was no official protest by a team against any of the disqualifications.”
But media reports and social media is rife with the less-than-stellar goings-on at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and nations are not pleased with what they see.