Speed skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games has been a mill of controversy so far. And it's only Day 2.
China won its second gold medal in the sport and the Games on Monday, with Ren Ziwei taking first place in the men's 1,000-metre race, though he wasn't the first skater to cross the finish line.
Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary received two lane-violation penalties and a yellow card after a video review following a chaotic series of events that started with the Hungarian apparently bumping into Ren, who promptly grabbed onto his opponent right as both skaters approached the finish line. Liu Shaolin Sandor still managed to cross first.
After a long video review, however, Ren was elevated to the top spot and knocked Liu Shaolin Sandor off the podium entirely.
#shorttrack #Beijing2022 Hungarian Shaolin Sandor Liu pushed Ren Ziwei twice, making Ren Ziwei lose his balance, so he stretched out his hand to protect himself. Shaolin also stretched his legs to cross the blue line, very clearly committing a lane change foul. pic.twitter.com/b5jjo3hhi3
— KyleMandison88 (@KelvinSUPREMEE) February 7, 2022
As has become the norm in these Olympic Games, the officials' decision was met with confusion and polarization. The fact that this is the second time China has earned gold after their opponents were handed out penalties only added to the online ordeal.
#SpeedSkating Well....um...China seems to be getting a fair amount of favourable calls!
— Milena ZP👩🏻🦽🇮🇹🇪🇺🏴 (@MilenaZP_) February 7, 2022
china winning gold in short track speed skating after all that penalty and yellow card drama.. i dont wanna say it's suspicious but something's not adding up🤧
— 🍑 (@ddalgibang) February 7, 2022
The Olympic Short Track Speed Skating officiating has been terrible.
Very suspicious based on who has benefitted from the reviews.
— Spencer (@SpeaksSports) February 7, 2022
China won 1st and 2nd in speed skating, and literally didn’t cross the finish line first once
— kidyovr (@hyaruxw) February 7, 2022
I am NOT a conspiracy theorist...but holy smokes....almost every ruling in the speed skating just benefited China....some of these rules....bloody hell.... #Olympics
— SwedishCar850 (@SwedishCar850) February 7, 2022
The men's 1,000-metre race was chaotic from the jump. The final had to be restarted so crew could remove metal debris and repair a tough spot on the ice, and the second time around brought even more drama.
While some believe Liu blocked Ren's way and impeded the Chinese skater, others defended he had a clean race. Then, there were those who agreed with the penalties handed out to Liu, but argued that Ren should have also been penalized for grabbing his opponent.
#중국새끼들 For those who haven't watched the full penalty video, please see clearly, Liu Shaolin first crossed the blue line, this was his first foul, and then he was afraid that Ren Ziwei would catch up and pushed Ren Ziwei twice. pic.twitter.com/2eDEA5U6V0
— Claudia (@814436720) February 7, 2022
Both Liu Shaolin and Ren Ziwei committed a foul. Liu Shaolin committed a foul first and Ren Ziwei later. Liu Shaolin first pass others dangerously, and then completely crossed the blue line in the sprint. Ren Ziwei was pushed by Liu and pushed Liu later. However（NOT END）
— Dolan (@dolan_yu) February 7, 2022
The one feeling that seemed to unite everyone involved in the discussion was utter confusion.
Short-track speed skating one of the very greatest sports. Not telling the competitors the rules beforehand such a clever idea.
— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) February 7, 2022
it seems like the easiest way to win at speed skating is to fall down and make it look like one of the other skaters bumped you.
— Josh Schramm (@JoshReedSchramm) February 7, 2022
At least one athlete shares fans' confusion.
South Korean speed skater Kwak Yoon-gy spoke against the short-track officiating after China won gold in mixed relay despite failing to qualify for the final round. It wasn't until the United States and Russian Olympic Committee got disqualified that the Chinese earned a spot and eventually clinched their first top spot of these Games.
"If it had been any other country than China in that situation, I wondered if that team would still have been allowed to reach the final like that," said Kwak.
The Olympic Games run until Feb. 20, which leaves plenty of time for more controversy in an event brimming with it.
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