Ekaterina Lobysheva is a veteran Russian speed skater, but everything about her run during today's 500m prelims in Sochi today was amateur hour—from the broken starter pistol that let her get away with a second, disqualifying false start, to the broken ice that made her wipe out at the end.
Lobysheva's competitor in the race, Zhang Hong, earned a false start herself despite not appearing to move at the line. That set up the conditions by which either competitor, if she were to false start, would be disqualified. But when Lobysheva moved prior to the gun and the starter attempted to signal the false start, he instead triggered the start of the race.
Zhang ended up winning anyway, and CBC's announcers never figured out the problem with the starter despite repeated IBC slow-motion shots of him furiously pulling the gun's trigger and then looking at it forlornly. The commentators even note how poor Zhang's start was, but didn't catch on to what happened.
Just after the race ended, Lobysheva's skate hit a crack in the ice that led to this—and a delay in the action as Sochi crews tried to patch the crack.
h/t to Chris