A Team China short track skater has been accused of cheating for allegedly sliding a marker that caused a Canadian opponent to fall during a race on Monday.
The moment in the women’s 500-meter quarterfinal was captured in a GIF, which went viral on Reddit before being deleted and re-posted.
The athlete in question was 28-year-old Kexin Fan, who can be seen in the GIF reaching over the leg of another competitor to touch a puck, the event’s marker.
The marker appeared to be flicked toward Canadian Alyson Charles, who then lost her balance and fell on the ice seconds later.
The Reddit thread, “‘Sportsmanship’ shown by the Chinese skater in the Beijing Olympics,” has drawn thousands of upvotes and comments, while the GIF was reportedly viewed more than 3 million times before it was deleted.
“This was some slick sh*t, it took me like 10 watches to figure out what happened,” one Reddit user wrote.
Another commented: “Took me several views to see that the hand throwing the puck actually belongs to the skater on the outside, snaking an arm past the Canadian skater on the inside of the turn. Gotta say the cheating shows amazing precision and coordination. Truly Olympic level cheat.”
This isn’t Fan’s first run-in with a competition controversy. Her team was disqualified from the women’s 3,000-meter team relay final at the 2018 Winter Olympics after she blocked a Korean skater.
“We are blessed to have the next Olympics in Beijing,” her teammate Zhou Yang said at the time, according to the South China Morning Post. “The Beijing Olympics will definitely be fair, most definitely.”
Kim Boutin of Canada won the 500-meter race on Monday and advanced to the semifinals. According to The Independent, her teammate Florence Brunelle finished second but was disqualified for tripping both Charles and Fan.
Charles was also allowed to advance because she was second before collapsing. According to News.com.au, she finished fourth in the semifinal, third in the B final, and eighth overall.
Arianna Fontana of Italy won the gold medal in the final. Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands won silver, while Boutin took bronze.