RIO 2016 OLYMPIC OPEN WATER SWIMMING
- August 15th-16th, 2016
- 9AM Local Time (8AM U.S. East Coast Time)
- 10Km Race
- Fort Copacabana Beach
The Netherlands picked up the first open water swimming gold of the Rio Olympic Games on a dominant effort from Sharon van Rouwendaal, but behind her, controversy raged with a hotly-contested silver medal finish that led to a disqualification.
You can find our full recap of van Rouwendaal’s win here. But now, we’ll focus in on that big finish for silver.
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.