- A North Korean athlete crashed out of his sole Winter Olympics event.
- Jong Kwang Bom tripped and seemingly tried to bring a fellow competitor down with him during the men’s 500-metre short track event.
- After a restart it was not long before Jong clashed with that same opponent.
- Jong was disqualified for his actions.
A 16-year-old North Korean speed skater tripped on the ice and tried to bring an opponent down with him.
The incident occured during the 2018 Winter Olympics 500-metre short track speed skating heat at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Tuesday.
The skater, Jong Kwang Bom, crashed not long after leaving the starting line but once he hit the deck, he appeared to grab hold of Japanese competitor Ryosuke Sakazume’s boot.
“I believe it was unintentional,” Sakazume said after the event according to Yahoo Sports. “His hand happened to be by my skate as he fell down.”
Sakazume’s coach, Jonathan Guilmette, added: “It is really hard to judge what’s the intention. I don’t know if he tried to grab the skates or if he is just trying to hold onto something like a reflex – there are so many hands all over in our sport. That was a reflex thing more than trying to trip over someone else.”
Despite Jong Kwang Bom’s actions, Sakazume was able to remain upright and continued to race. But Olympic officials still called for a restart.
After a half lap in the second run, Jong again collided with Sakazume.
He finished a distant fourth, was disqualified by the judges for the push on Sakazume, and was ushered away from the rink by a “handler.” He didn’t address the press, according to Yahoo.
Sakazume, meanwhile, finished second and qualified for the men’s 500-metre quarterfinal on Thursday.