Olympics Viewers, Onlookers Scratch Heads Over Controversial Call DQing US, Russian Skaters As China Wins Gold

(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Some Olympic viewers were left perplexed during the weekend when a speed skating judge’s decision disqualified the United States and helped China win a gold medal.

The United States had finished second in its semifinal race of the mixed team relay event in short track speed skating Saturday, joining first place Hungary to advance to the finals. That was until an official’s review after the race determined that the United States and Russia, the fourth place finishers, had impeded skaters from team China, causing both teams to be disqualified.

Team China, the world’s number one ranked team in the event, had initially finished third and not qualified for the finals. However, thanks to the penalty against the U.S., China took their spot in the final and went on to win the gold, the country’s first medal of the games.

The decision to disqualify the United States and Russia was met with some skepticism. Many viewers took to social media to accuse the result of being a “fix,” “rigged” and called the Chinese “cheaters.” (RELATED: TV Ratings Tank For The Olympics In Communist China)

American skater Ryan Pivirotto, who had the penalty assessed against him, took the high road. “We all skated our absolute best and proved that we were a medal contender fate decided to play it differently,” he tweeted after the event. “Lessons learned and it’s time to look forward for the next day’s of competition.”

Pivirotto’s teammate Maame Biney expressed slightly more frustration and skepticism toward the decision, saying it was an “interesting call for sure.”

The incident isn’t the first to raise questions about the competitive integrity of the games being hosted by the Chinese Communist Party. Russian biathlon athlete Valeria Vasnetsova called out the conditions for athletes in COVID-19 quarantine hotels in Beijing, saying the food is “impossible” to eat and that there isn’t training equipment available.

German skiing coach Christian Schwaiger called the nutritional options “extremely questionable.”