France’s Aurelie Muller appealed her disqualification at the end of the Olympic open water 10K, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected the appeal and upheld her DQ.
From our original reporting on the DQ:
Based on a replay, which you can see on NBCOlympics.com here, France’s Aurelie Muller and Italy’s Rachele Bruni hit the finishing stretch shoulder-to-shoulder and engage in a very physical dash to the finish pad.
Commentators call it “almost a streetfight” and “gladiatorial” as the two jockey for position.
Heading into the finish, it appears Bruni gets an inside track and doesn’t budge from her line, pushing Muller to the outside and dangerously close to the outside edge of the finish platform. As the two close in, Muller pushes back to the inside, trying to find a lane between Bruni and the float holding up the finish pad.
As the two scuffle for position, Muller ends up basically going over the top of Bruni in a lunge for the pad. Bruni actually appears to get pushed entirely under water, but Muller isn’t quite able to reach the pad before she resurfaces. As Muller’s hand floats inches away from the finish pad, Bruni pops back up and reaches and the two hit at almost the exact same time.
Muller was credited with hitting the pad first, but was disqualified, apparently for holding Bruni down under the water, according to the commentators on the video.
Though the race itself was physical, NBC’s video shows Muller and Bruni embracing emotionally after the results were made official.
CAS ruled that the disqualification would stand, as it was a “field-of-play decision,” which CAS does not review unless there is proven “arbitrariness” or “bad faith” in arriving at that decision. CAS said neither was proven in the Muller case.