Did a Chinese speedskater flick a marker underneath the skate of a Canadian opponent, causing her to fall during Monday’s Olympic women’s 500-metre short-track speedskating quarterfinals?
Viewers swear they saw Chinese star Fan Kexin, 28, reach over the leg of another competitor and flick a track marker toward the left skate of Canadian skater Alyson Charles, 23.
It came during the final turn of the last lap of the race. Fan was trailing Charles, who was in second place. The first two skaters to cross the finish line were guaranteed a place in the semifinals.
The marker hit Charles’ skate, causing her to wipe out and bring Fan down with her.
Footage circulating on social media appears to show Fan’s hand making contact with the marker, but in a strange twist, Canadian skater Florence Brunelle was the one disqualified from the race.
Following the chaos on the Beijing track, Olympic fans were quick to suss out the footage.
“Recheck the video footage… it was the Chinese competitor who flicks the marker into the path of the Alyson Charles, not Florence… she doesn’t actually touch it in any way… Fan’s arm is in front of Florence obstructing then hits the marker with her hand then flicks it,” Twitter user Glen Molloy said.
“Holy mackerel! You can see the second Chinese skater push the cone under the foot of the Canadian. Am I right in this interpretation?” user Mary Mullen replied.
“Fan Kexin literally pushed the marker on the Canadians! What are you talking about lol, she cheated,” wrote another Twitter user.
Fellow Canadian Kim Boutin went on to win the semifinal race. Brunelle came in second.
However, Brunelle was disqualified for making an illegal inside pass earlier in the race, which was her second penalty of the Games.
Charles was allowed to advance to the semifinal after the judges ruled that she was going to place second in the race if she had not fallen, and that the crash was not her fault.
Boutin went on to win the bronze medal in the event final, while Italian Arianna Fontana won gold and the Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting won silver.