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Olympic history is filled with examples of athletes trying to gain an advantage, but few could have predicted so much controversy at the 2022 Winter Olympics over baggy clothing.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jay Busbee, five athletes were disqualified from the mixed team ski jumping competition in Beijing due to loose clothing.
Failing to use the right garment could give competitors a significant advantage in ski jumping, especially if it catches the wind. Someone using a wingsuit would probably set world records if they were allowed to.
The last disqualifications were still unprecedented at this level, especially after the same outfits had already been bleached the day before.
“The FIS [International Ski Federation] destroyed everything with this operation,” German athlete Katharina Althaus told AFP. “I think they destroyed women’s ski jumping. I don’t know what they’re trying to do.”
The five disqualified competitors were women, including Althaus. Germany, the four-time reigning world champion in this event, did not advance to the final round in part due to disqualification.
Japan, Norway and Austria also saw athletes disqualified during competition.
“I’ve been tested so many times in 11 years of ski jumping, and I’ve never been disqualified once; I know my suit was okay,” Althaus added.
This is her third Olympic Games and she was looking to add to the silver medal won in Beijing in the women’s normal hill event. She was looking for her first gold medal in the team competition, which was added to the calendar for the first time in 2022.
Slovenia won the first gold medal in the team event, with the Russian Olympic Committee winning silver and Canada bronze.