Don’t jump to conclusions
Morhad Amdouni emerged as the biggest villain of the Olympic marathon, and now he’s telling his side of the story.
The 33-year-old Frenchman finished 17th in the race but was one of the most talked-about runners after the event thanks to a clip that went viral on Twitter. The video shows Amdouni approaching a water station along the course, reaching out to grab a bottle and knocking a whole row of them onto the ground before picking up the last water on the table.
The video was tweeted by Australian former Olympic distance runner Ben St. Lawrence and has been viewed over five million times. While not everyone was convinced Amdouni knocked the waters over deliberately, he did attract plenty of hate.
A YouTube video of the incident accusing him of “cheating” has been viewed nearly 500,000 times. Piers Morgan, a pompous blowhard who doesn’t deserve attention but nonetheless has a massive platform, called Amdouni “the biggest d---head of the Olympics.” Dutch politician Peter Valstar noted on Twitter that the Netherlands’ Abdi Nageeye, who was unable to get a drink at the water station because of Amdouni, won the silver medal, while Amdouni finished 17th. “Karma is a bitch,” Valstar wrote.
Amdouni addressed the controversy in a video on his Instagram account, saying he didn’t mean to knock over the bottles. He explained that the bottles are slippery because they are kept on ice and that he was so exhausted that grabbing a bottle cleanly became difficult.
“With the fatigue, I started bit by bit to lose lucidity and energy in hanging on,” he said.
“So I really want to apologize to the athletes. But at one moment I tried to get hold of a water bottle, I made them fall.”
Amdouni’s explanation is perfectly reasonable. He had already been running for an hour and a half in brutally hot and muggy conditions (temperatures in the low to mid 80s and 80% humidity), so it would have been natural for his hands to be a little shaky. It’s too bad that so many people developed a negative opinion of him based on an eight-second, out-of-context video clip.
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