It was a rather strange picture. The Russian team beat the United States in the semi-finals of the team pursuit, and Daniil Aldushkin raised his middle fingers immediately after the end. He raised quite a few questions and so the Russians came up with an explanation.
“I put my hand in the air,” said Aldushkin. This is my first medal in my first Olympics. I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m sorry if I offended anyone.”
Ruslan Zakharov stood behind his teammate shortly thereafter. The gesture was said to have been a reaction to the speed at which the Russians went, and did not target the Americans who had referred them to the Bronze Medal Battle, which the United States won over the Netherlands. In skating, we fight time, not against an opponent. “Work was pure passion,” Zakharov said.
Aldoshkin’s incident is reminiscent of Sjinkie Knegt’s incident at the European Short Track Championships in 2014. After completing the last distance, the potato raised two middle fingers to competitor Victor Ann. Although Knegt, who would have finished third, apologized to the camera right after the race, he was disqualified from all individual distances.
There was also support for Aldushkin outside the Russian national team. Norway’s Hallger Ingbraten, who won gold with his team in the team quest, found Aldushkin’s explanation sufficient and said that no one should take offense at the gesture.
The reaction of the Russian Ski Federation
Despite all the support that Aldushkin received, photos of the “Middle Finger Incident” are widespread. So Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Ski Federation, felt compelled to make an additional statement. In this he says that Aldushkin’s expressions are nothing more or less than the release of emotions in a junior Olympian who has been carried away for the time being.
“Today is a very emotional day for our team,” the president said. Daniel made his Olympic debut and in the semi-finals set an Olympic record. These were pure secretions. We talked to him about it, he made a statement at the press conference. Feelings prevailed after the end, without any ulterior motives. We are sorry if there are people who saw this differently and ignored it. On behalf of the Russian Ski Federation, I offer our solemn apologies for this. ”
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