On Monday, January 1, during the third stage of the Tour de Ski free technique sprint, just before the finish line, one of the Norwegian athletes literally stopped. Her fellow teammate running right behind her, crossed the finish as the second without any problems. ()
Why am I writing about cross-country skiing right here? Relax, I’m just about to make my point...
The purpose of this maneuvre was to increase the athlete’s chance to take a better place in the overall standings and to gain a better position for the Norwegian team. The team manager confirmed in an interview with reporters that – “Before the race the girls agreed to behave in this way.”
The runners’ behaviour raised objections, even outrage among fans (of course, apart from the Norwegian fans). In many of the comments people even called for punishing the athlete who made way for her friend clearly, without a fight.
Infringement? I don’t know the exact rules of cross-country skiing, but I think that there is a paragraph saying simply that – “An athlete ought to follow their route from the start to finish so as to get to the finish line as soon as possible ...” Unless this particular point was considered obvious.
Certainly there are paragraphs prohibiting blocking and cutting in on opponents as well as other harmful maneuvres. But in this case we don’t deal with cutting in on anybody. The runner could also justify herself claiming that she was about to faint. So there is no reason to disqualify or punish her.
This case gives me a pretext to write about our “table” issues. We have penalties in armwrestling, first a warning, then a foul for specific offences. We know that two fouls mean the end of the fight for the penalized.
But – let’s consider a seemingly simple question. When does the fight start? It’s so simple! – You will all say at once.
In terms of rules, the fight starts after the competitors are called to the table by the announcer. Each competitor has time to appear at the table. If they don’t show up within a minute from the call, the referee may ask the speaker to call the name once again and add that this is the last call to the table.
Experience has shown that, depending on the rank of the competition, there are different approaches to the time given to appear at the table. At championships rules are strictly observed. At the local competitions, it happens that the “search” for a competitor lasts a little longer.
There is another point which is worth noting from the perspective of law. I mean, the moment when the competitors enter the stage. From that moment, they are subject to strict discipline of sportsmanship! Losing the fight and additional consequences might be a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct at this point.
Let me explain this using an example.