The alleged detachment of a helmet cost Hayden Wilde, Alex Yee and all of us watching live in Birmingham or on TV the opportunity for a truly epic finish to a Commonwealth Games triathlon race for the ages .
It was a so-called unclipping that, to the naked eye, at full speed, looked nothing like a counterfeit; an alleged unclip that, even after each slow-motion replay, still could not be determined.
And the conclusions of World Triathlon today on the rejection of the appeal confirm this.
“The World Triathlon Tribunal…determined that in the absence of evidence that the sanction was imposed in “bad faith”, it would defer to the judgment of on-field officials, respecting a decision made on the “field” of play,” the statement from Triathlon New Zealand said.
If the World Triathlon Tribunal can’t find evidence to support the officials’ decision on the course, either in super slow motion or stills, doesn’t that mean watching it at full speed and determining that the helmet was actually removed early would be close -on impossible?
Strangely, it took nearly four months for a decision to be made; four confusing months where, I was told, lawyers for both sides continued to go back and forth over whether the decision should be overturned.
It’s not something that should be determined between lawyers. It’s a clear question whether Wilde illegally started removing his helmet in the final transition or not.
If there is not enough evidence to prove that he withdrew it earlier, the decision should be overturned. Don’t we live by the idea that someone is innocent until proven guilty? Apparently they can’t prove it. Nobody can.
It is impossible to know if Wilde would have beaten Yee or not.
The Kiwi is adamant he felt strong and, but for the penalty, could have dropped the Englishman and raced for gold.
We’ll never know and, in all honesty, Yee looked incredibly strong as well. But Wilde was robbed of that opportunity, we were robbed of a race, Yee was robbed of the chance to get on the podium no questions asked.
I was lucky enough to be there to watch every tense part of the men’s triathlon unfold in the maze of Sutton Park earlier this year.
I was also lucky enough to be there when Wilde crossed the line and told his team it was “bulls**t”. He’s not one to mince words, but from my many dealings with him, he’s not one to make anything up either.
Alex Yee is a deserved gold medalist, but Hayden Wilde has been cruelly denied a fair race. They both have.
. Opinion wilde sest refuse a crack fair gold triathlon