Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt won gold in the men’s triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games following a bizarre false start which saw a media boat block about half of the competitors who were about to dive into the water to begin their swim.
The incident sparked mass confusion at the beginning of the event as the starting gun went off with the boat still right in front of the starting platform. The pilot then had to hastily reverse out of the way while race officials recalled those who had started their swim. “The starter’s gun appeared to go off early while a boat carrying a camera crew was still in the start zone,” reads an explanation posted on the Olympics’ official blog.
After the restart, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt went on to win gold — his country’s first medal at Toyko 2020 — with a time of 1:45:04. Great Britain’s Alex Yee claimed the silver medal and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand took the bronze.
Blummenfelt said he was “surprised” by the incident with the boat, but in the end he saw it as “a positive thing” because it was “good practice.” Speaking after the race, Blummenfelt said he would have been disappointed with anything other than a gold medal. Asked at which point he realized he was going to win, Blummenfelt said: “When I was standing on the pontoon ready to go.” Bronze medalist Wilde also spoke about the false start after the race. “I was caught up in that but it was kind of good but kind of annoying at the same time because I looked to the left and I was like, ‘oh man, I’ve had a great start, this doesn’t happen to me,'” said Wilde, who said it was “quite good” to get his arms moving over a short distance.