Japan Olympic Women Slider Disqualifications

February 20, 2010

If you hear these stories separately, your heart goes out to those involved. When you put the pieces together, you have to worry if there aren’t some very deep seated problems in the management of the Japanese Olympic Women’s Skeleton team.

The latest news is that Nozomi Komuro was disqualified for not having the proper sticker on her skeleton sled. Her coaches say that they had received the required seal at the checkpoint 35 minutes before the event, but that Komuro had taken it off not realizing how important it was. He commented that she had heard that no sponsor stickers were allowed and took off all of the stickers, including the official seal.

The problem is that she had been issued a warning at the World Cup in Nagano three years ago for doing the exact same thing.

The disqualifications in women’s skeleton did not end at Komuro’s. Aya Yasuda was also disqualified in the the Olympic Women’s Luge competition for bringing too much ballast. She was allowed a ballast up to 13.1 kg, but was weighed in with 13.3kg putting her overweight.

Veteran slider on the men’s team, Kazuhiro Koshi, was quoted as saying that the two young athletes would be able to “mature” because of this experience.

I can’t help but think that off-the-course mistakes by two young sliders that no coaches, teammates, handlers, or equipment managers noticed point to larger issues in the Japanese organization.

{ 4 comments }

1 RMilner February 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I agree completely.

The athlete’s job is to run the race. The team’s job is to get the athlete to the start on time with proper equipment.

It looks like amateurism on the part of the team management.

2 jay@newzjapan February 21, 2010 at 3:03 am

@RMilner- Yeah, you would think that they would want their athletes to be using their mental energy on preparing for the race. Then to throw them under the bus like that…

3 Shinigami February 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

So one can prepare for an event 2-4 years on end only to be DQed over a lousy sponsor sticker? I can somewhat understand the Olympic one because it is their event, but they (being the Olympic committee) should have educated her on the rules about the sticker in detail. I would say this is officially the most retarded way to lose a medal. Nevermind HGH or steroids or even thinning of the blood at different altitudes. Peel a sticker off and its war.

Okay obviously the above mentioned is fairly serious (except for blood thinning), but shouldn’t the athlete be allowed a trial at least to be able to fight to keep her medal?

4 jay@newzjapan February 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Shinigami has a good point there of course. If you really want to find out who’s the best, fastest, strongest in the world, you can take a few minutes to re-inspect the sled. I can maybe see the sticker being a problem at an understaffed local competition where it’s a problem, but this is the Olympics.

If it’s an issue of money they can fine the JOC for whatever time and trouble it took to check the sled again…

… I can understand the DQ of the athlete that brought along too much ballast though because that can really affect the outcome.