Qualifying Winter Olympics gold medalist Daniil Aldoshkin issues a public apology after throwing an inappropriate hand gesture in celebration of his team’s win against the United States on Tuesday. The Russian speedskater crossed the finish line immediately flashing two middle-fingers in what would typically be seen as an insult.
For instance, Aldoshkin said he meant no harm by the signal. RT.com reported an apology from Aldoshkin saying, “I threw up my hands, I have the first medal, the first Olympics. I didn’t mean anything like that. I’m sorry if this offended anyone.”
The 20-year-old Olympic speedskater joins fellow Russian teammates Ruslan Zakharov and Sergey Trofimov in achieving a record win ultimately defeating Team USA in the men’s team pursuit semifinals. Also, the United States team included Ethan Capuran, Casey Dawson, and Emery Lehman. Additionally, the win will allow the Russians’ to advance to the gold medal race, plus a guaranteed medal in the event at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Aldoshkin’s teammates came to his defense saying his reaction was more of a response to defeating their previous race time instead of an insult. Zakharov, 34, holds an Olympic gold medal for the 5,000-meter relay from 2014.
“In speed skating, we fight against time, not against an opponent. It was purely an emotional reaction,” said Ruslan Zakharov.
Russia issues apology for behavior at the Winter Olympics
In order to double underline Aldoshkin’s initial apology for his brash middle-finger action, Russian Skating Union president Alexei Kravtsov also came forward with a comment. Also, he called Aldoshkin’s behavior “an outburst of emotion” stating his emotions got the best of him. However, Kravtsov also came to Aldoshkin’s defense.
“Today was a very emotional day for our team. Daniil is a debutant of the Games, he has the first Olympic medal in his career. In the semifinals, the team set an Olympic record. It was an outburst of emotion,” Kravtsov said.
“We talked with the athlete, he made a statement at a press conference. Emotions took over at the finish line, there was no subtext in this action. We are sorry if someone differently perceived this situation and [it] offended someone. On behalf of the Russian Skating Union, we offer our official apologies.”
Halgeir Engebroten, an athlete from the victorious Norwegian team, also took the time to address the situation. But Engebroten believes Aldoshkin’s apology is genuine and should be sufficient evidence that the Russian speedskater meant no offense by it.
“I think it’s just a reaction to the fact that the guys made it to the final. He explained everything, that’s enough for me.” said the gold medal winner according to RT.com.
In the end, Norway took the win leaving Russia with silver in the event. Also, Team USA walked away with bronze after defeating the Netherlands in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.