Open Water Highlights of 2016 — Correction to Original Story

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Photo Courtesy: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

In the November 2016 issue of Swimming World Magazine, an article entitled “Memorable Open Water Highlights of 2016” detailed the controversy at the finish of the men’s 10k race at the Olympics in Rio.

Great Britain’s Jack Burnell touched third, apparently for the bronze, but he was disqualified after he knocked Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli’s arm away after Mellouli grabbed his leg. Both men earned yellow cards for the infraction, but the violation was Burnell’s second, and so he was done.

After the race, a furious Burnell blamed Mellouli for the loss of his medal, and no one could figure out exactly what he had done to earn his first penalty of the race.

In the weeks since publication, Sid Cassidy, the head referee from the event, informed Swimming World that the account of the finish was incorrect.

“Burnell earned a red card for turning around and punching another swimmer in the head warranting an immediate ejection. Whether or not this was caused by interference does not have a bearing on the disqualification. This was called by my assistant and I upheld it,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy and officials from British Swimming all watched the incident in slow motion, according to Cassidy, where it was evident that Burnell’s fist did come in contact with Mellouli’s head, and it was not clear if or how that that action was provoked.

Because of Burnell’s punch merited an immediate ejection, not merely a second yellow card, his prior infraction had no barring on his disqualification.

Swimming World regrets the error and thanks Mr. Cassidy for reaching out.

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine