NewsRacingWorld CupBolshunov and Iversen DQd from World Championship 50 k by FIS Nette Polizei

FasterSkier FasterSkierApril 1, 2021
In a rare action, FIS and the newly formed Nette Polizei have retroactively disqualified both Alexander Bolshunov (middle) and Emil Iversen (right) from the championship 50 k results. (Photo: NordicFocus)

In a rare twist of events, the International Ski Federation (FIS) has modified the results of the men’s 50-kilometer mass start classic from the 2021 World Championships. FasterSkier reported on the topsy turvy nature of the final two hundred meters.

Here’s what we reported on race day:

“Swooping around the left-hander into the straight, it was Bolshunov in the lead and going wide up against the edge of the right-hand V-boards. (Reminiscent of Lahti where Finland’s Joni Mäki of Finland and Bolshnov nearly tied up near the 4 x 7.5 k relay finish? Maybe. Tune into the post-race podcast.)

“No matter how you look at it, pro-Russia, pro-Norway, pro-fun racing, Bolshnov went wide to close the door on Klæbo, and the Norwegian sprinter nearly lost his balance dodging V-boards, ski tips, and Bolshunov’s physical presence. During the brush-up, with no crowd noise, you can hear Bolshunov’s pole crack with the bottom half falling to the ground after he stuck it between his legs.

“As Klæbo and Bolshunov re-centered, both now with barely enough room to push the pedals down, the drag race ensued with, as one might guess, Klæbo winning and Bolshunov, with one effective pole, losing ground. It looked like this: Klæbo as the 2021 championship sprint champ and 50 k classic champion in 2:10:52.2. Iversen, for his part, closed in down the straight and passed Bolshunov for second place (+0.7), with the Russian crossing third (+1.4) while slamming his now-dysfunctional pole to the snow.

“STOP THE PRESS.

“In the meantime, still, twenty minutes after the race, the race jury discussed the final moments of the race. In the jury room, on a live feed, were Russia’s Markus Cramer, a longtime head coach, a Norwegian official, and Klæbo arguing his case. Later on, within the post-race compound, Bolshunov, alone and masked, awaited the decisions, as did Klæbo and Iversen.

“Thirty minutes later and Klæbo was called back towards the jury room. Rule ICR 343.10 – Disqualified – Obstruction, came into play as Klæbo was disqualified.”

Absolutely no stoke and not happy. (Photo: NordicFocus)

***

“The Nette Polizei does recognize that the situation was confusing for Iversen … And for pretty much everybody else,” the FIS said. “But that is no excuse for not knowing your place – which in this case probably should not have been first.”

 

The rest is Rule ICR 343.10 history. Or so we thought. The Norwegian Ski Federation filed an appeal, which Klæbo asked to be rescinded a day later.

This morning, however, FIS announced a rewrite of sorts. Some things still stand. Klæbo remains DQd. The big news is that FIS has disqualified both Bolshunov and Iversen as the post-race video analysis and podium ceremony have shed more light on the incident.

After a special FIS committee was formed in late March, appropriately called the “Nette Polizei” or “Nice Police”, Bolshunov was also DQd. The reason wasn’t exactly a matter of fact according to a FIS statement.

“Alexander Bolshunov is disqualified from the results,” the FIS statement read. “We are going out of our way to hypothesize the intent of his broken pole swing moments after he crossed the line in Oberstdorf. Although no skier was in close vicinity to Bolshunov’s broken-pole swing, had there been, we believe Bolshunov would have intended to harm that skier. (Or at least visualized it at the moment.) Further, Bolshunov’s rant in Lahti and Oberstdorf, and his post-race sulking, are simply bad looks for the FIS product. We do not do bad optics. And this is a clear case of bad optics.”

 

This is not a happy skier. (Photo: NordicFocus)

 

Bolshunov, in a rare moment of contrition, thought his silver medal in the 50 k unworthy of a skier still under probation for his naughty behavior in Lahti, Finland. Perhaps he is now trying to right a wrong concerning his attempted pile-drive of Joni Maki after the men’s 4 x 7.5 k relay in that race.

“After consulting with my sports psych, I now understand my bad-boy behavior is no way to act – but being a bad boy can sometimes be good, no?” Bolshhunov said to FIS through a translator. “In Lahti, well, let’s just say I acted like a rogue FSB agent. And at World Champs, although that win was stolen from me, I should not have swung my broken pole in angst as I crossed the line in what I thought was third place but turned out to be second place. Third place initially, can you believe that? Anyway, I want to play nice. But I also want to, how do I say it nice AF, destroy Klæbo maybe come next season.”

In another move, call it a Nette Polizei power-grab, an unprecedented decision was also made by the group to retroactively DQ Iversen. The reason for Iversen’s DQ was more circumspect and involved the podium ceremony.

“Iversen is also disqualified for behavior unbecoming of a true champion,” read a FIS statement. “The 50 k is the crown jewel event in men’s cross-country skiing, and as such, the winner of the event should do so with brevity, not by others who finished ahead of them being subsequently disqualified.”

The evidence is clear said FIS, Iversen is in fact beaming on the podium. (Photo: NordicFocus)

 

Several Nette Polizei members told FasterSkier on background that Iversen stood with glee on the top step of the podium as if he were the winner.

“The Nette Polizei does recognize that the situation was confusing for Iversen … And for pretty much everybody else,” the FIS said. “But that is no excuse for not knowing your place – which in this case probably should not have been first.”

FIS indicated through a spokesperson that a new set of podium winners would be determined. That flower and podium ceremony will be celebrated at a later date.

Through a handler’s Instagram account, Klæbo is quoted as saying he is “tranquilo” moving into the off-season with several new creative projects coming on-line including a signature ski-glove line in what is thought to be an already saturated market.

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