LE PARISIEN, L'EQUIPE (France), TELEGRAPH (UK), L.A. TIMES (USA)
LONDON - Just after winning the team gold in the men's team track sprint, British cyclist Philip Hindes admitted he had deliberately crashed in the heats in order to get a second chance at the race, the Telegraph reported.
"We were saying if we have a bad start we need to crash to get a restart," Hindes said. "I just crashed, I did it on purpose to get a restart, just to have the fastest ride. I did it. So it was all planned, really."
Does this amount to cheating or is it just a cleaver use of competition rules? The question was on every French fan's mind, as the French trio finished second behind the British team. The International Cycling Union decided to uphold the race's result arguing that the British team hadn't broken any rules. In this case, officials ruled that smart strategy wasn't the same as cheating. Even French coach Florian Rousseau admitted it was "well played" though "not very good for the image of cycling," Le Parisien reported.
"We believe it's time to change the rules. It's important for athletes to compete in the Olympic spirit," said Mark Adams, Director of Communications for the International Olympic Committee.
Ah yes, the Olympic spirit…violating it was the reason four pairs of badminton players were expelled from the London Games, after admitting they lost on purpose in order to face weaker teams later in the competition. None of the athletes actually broke any rules here either but they were charged by the Badminton World Federation with "not using one's best efforts to win a match" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
"In the case of badminton, a line was clearly crossed," said Adams. In cycling, "our view is that people were not deprived of a contest."