London. An apparently deliberate crash by British track cycling gold medalist Philip Hindes for tactical reasons is not being investigated, the International Olympic Committee said Friday.
The incident in the team sprint Thursday raised further questions about athletes’ ethical behavior at the London Games after four women’s badminton pairs — including an Indonesian duo — were disqualified for playing to lose.
Hindes told reporters that team strategy was “if we have a bad start we need to crash to get a restart.”
The 19-year-old wobbled starting a three-lap race in the heats and fell at the first bend. The British trio, including Chris Hoy, won the restarted race and later beat France in the final.
“I just crashed, I did it on purpose to get a restart, just to have the fastest ride. I did it. So it was all planned, really,” British media reported Hindes saying immediately after the race. He modified his comments at the official news conference to say he lost control of his bike.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said it agreed with the International Cycling Union that “the result is not in question.”
“They are obviously aware of the situation, and at this stage they don’t see any reason to question the result. At this stage neither do we,” Adams told reporters.
The badminton scandal saw teams from China, Indonesia and South Korea expelled from the Olympics on Wednesday for deliberately losing in order to manipulate their route through the knockout stages. The teams were booed off court by spectators at Wembley Arena.
Adams said the cycling incident was different because paying fans “were not deprived of a competition.”
“The race took place and I believe we could clearly say that best efforts were made in that competition by the British team,” he said.
French officials did not formally complain about the British tactic.
“You have to make the most of the rules. You have to play with them in a competition and no one should complain about that,” the France team’s technical director, Isabelle Gautheron, told the Associated Press.
Still, Gautheron doubted that her riders would have done the same thing.
“Hindes prepared for that possibility and knew exactly what to do after his poor start. We don’t share the same kind of mindset,” she said.
Another coach suggested that what happened was simply part of professional cycling.
“He [Hindes] should not have told the truth,” Daniel Morelon, a Frenchman who coaches the China team, told The AP. “It’s part of the game, but you should not tell others.”
A similar case of candor after a London Olympics event involved the coach of Japan’s women’s football team.
Norio Sasaki revealed at a post-match news conference that he instructed his players not to beat South Africa in a group match. The 0-0 draw allowed Japan to remain in Cardiff, Wales, for a quarterfinals match instead of traveling to Glasgow, Scotland.
“I feel sorry we couldn’t show a respectable game, but it’s my responsibility, not the players,’” Sasaki said. FIFA declined to open a disciplinary case.