Celebrating last-place finishes at the Olympics. Because they're there, and you're not.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

New Zealand Kayaking Controversy

Controversy has erupted in New Zealand as a result of a deliberate last-place finish by one of its athletes. Kayaker Steven Ferguson deliberately paddled slowly to finish last in his K1 500-metre heat earlier today in order to avoid making the semifinals. He was nursing a back injury and wanted to save himself for the K2 1,000-metre final, where he and his teammate are medal hopefuls, but didn't withdraw from the 500-metre K1 because you can't withdraw from just one event: if you pull out, you're disqualified from the entire regatta.

Now this didn't go over well with everyone: New Zealand kayaker Owen Hughes -- not at the Games -- called Ferguson's actions "pathetic" and an "embarrassment," saying that Ferguson's spot in the race could have been occupied by someone who was willing to compete, and alleged that the reason Ferguson had that spot was because his father, Ian Ferguson, was the team's coach.

It's not always sweetness and light at the back of the pack, is it? (Thanks to Alan and Regan for help with this story.)

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  • At 1:38 AM, August 26, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    what it doesnt say is Mr Hughes didnt make the olympic team, and has quite a severe case of sour grapes, he said a lot of negative things about all the rowers. however yes the whole race was embarrassing! he better get a medal to make up for it.....

  • At 4:54 AM, August 29, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Owen Hughes is just a sore loser who can't get over the fact that he's actually not good enough to be at the olympics. I'm a New Zealander and I wasn't embarrassed by Ferguson's actions and neither is anyone else I've talked to.

  • At 7:44 AM, August 30, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Im a kiwi and im embarrassed. The K2 1000m final that steve ferguson was apparently saving his energy for was raced with his kayaking partner Ben Fouhy. Ben Fouhy had just raced 1 hour before and won silver in the K1 1000m. That leaves two blokes to try and win gold, one who is knackered from a race one hour earlier and the other carrying back and shoulder injuries. Doesn't add up to a gold medal on any planet. They had no chance. It just makes you wonder why ferguson didn't actually try to win the K1 500m instead. I really feel sorry for Steve Ferguson here who had mountains of pressure from all angles to pull finger. My conclusion is Poor planning gold medal goes to the NZ kayaking team.

  • At 1:13 AM, September 01, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What would you all rather have had, an athlete who has an injury risk aggrevating the injury for an outside chance at making a final or save himself to post the best possible result in an event that he has made the final in, I think we all need to look at the big picture and realise the reality of 2 NZers who had the drive, determination and grit to start a sport 2 years ago and make it to not only the finals of the greatest sporting platform in the history of the Earth but for one of them to bring home a Silver medal is phenominal