Aldoshkin said he was caught in the moment of winning a medal in his Olympic debut
A Russian Olympic speedskater has come under fire for flipping the bird after beating Team USA on the men’s team pursuit semifinal on Tuesday
Daniil Aldoshkin, 20, issued an apology after facing backlash for flashing his middle fingers when he and teammates Ruslan Zakharov and Sergey Trofimov crossed the finish line with an Olympic record time of 3:36.62, securing at least a silver medal.
“I threw up my hands,” Aldoshkin said, via RT.com. “I have the first medal, the first Olympics. I didn’t mean anything like that. I’m sorry if this offended anyone.”
Zakharov, who won gold in the men’s 5,000-meter relay back in 2014, defended his teammate, calling it an “emotional reaction.”
“In speed skating, we fight against time, not against an opponent,” he said, according to the outlet. “It was purely an emotional reaction.
President of the Russian Skating Union Alexei Kravtsov offered another apology, doubling down on Aldoshkin’s actions as a result of his emotions
“Today was a very emotional day for our team. Daniil is a debutant of the Games, he has the first Olympic medal in his career. In the semifinals, the team set an Olympic record. It was an outburst of emotion,” Kravtsov said, via RT.com.
“We talked with the athlete, he made a statement at a press conference. Emotions took over at the finish line, there was no subtext in this action. We are sorry if someone differently perceived this situation and [it] offended someone. On behalf of the Russian Skating Union, we offer our official apologies.”