Algerian Runner Booted From Olympics For Quitting A Race Reinstated After Getting A Doctor's Note

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Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria qualified for the Olympics in both the 800 and 1,500 meters, and by all indications, he was prepared to compete in both races with gusto. But on Sunday, Makhloufi ran the fastest overall time (3:42.24) in a semifinal heat of the 1,500, besting even defending Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya. All of a sudden, for obvious reasons, the 800 didn't really matter to Makhloufi.


Makhloufi wanted to conserve his energy for the 1,500 final. But there was a problem: He didn't scratch from the 800 by Sunday's deadline, which meant he was forced to run his qualifying heat earlier today. So Makhloufi did what he had to do: He tanked it and basically gave up after the first 200 meters, which you can see in the video above.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) didn't take too kindly to this, so they kicked Makhloufi out of the Games altogether:

"The referee considered that he had not provided a bona fide effort and decided to exclude him from participation in all further events in the competition," read an IAAF statement.


A few hours later, that decision was reversed. Why? Turns out Makhloufi has a knee injury:

"After reviewing evidence provided by the LOCOG medical officer, the disqualification of (Taoufik Makhloufi) from further participation in the athletics competition of the 2012 Olympic Games has been revoked," the IAAF said in a statement.

Olympic rules really are the best: Depending on the sport, when athletes try to compete by not competing, it's either within the rules or something that won't be tolerated. And some of those who are punished still get to continue, so long as they "prove" they were injured. Makhloufi's 1,500 final is tomorrow. Provided his knee somehow holds up.


[The Guardian/Reuters, via Business Insider]