The mixed team ski jumping final at Beijing 2022 descended into farce after a spate of disqualifications left some nations infuriated.
Slovenia won gold ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee and Canada, but it was the actions of the officials that were by far the biggest talking point.
Japan, Austria and Norway all had jumpers disqualified due to suit violations in the final, while Germany – who had won four mixed team world titles on the spin – failed to progress from qualifying after individual silver medallist Katharina Althaus was disqualified.
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The German team later confirmed that their jumpers were all wearing suits they had competed in previously.
Japan’s Sara Takanashi, Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz and Norway’s Anna Odine all had jumps disqualified during the final, with all three nations missing out on the podium.
In a heartbreaking finale, Takanashi broke down in tears after her second jump and quickly left the arena. She had been forced to jump despite knowing of her DQ. The Japanese star has 61 victories on the World Cup circuit but finished fourth in the individual event in Beijing and leaves her third Olympics still without a gold medal.
Germany coach Stefan Horngacher was among those to vent his fury.
"It's totally crazy. Three girls disqualified. Three professional girls, they always win World Cups. And we had no explanation," he said on Eurosport.
"She (Althaus) jumped with the same suit in the individual competition and yet no explain, how could this be?"
Ski jumping suits have to meet strict measurement rules in order to make sure they don't help function as wings in the air and give the athletes an unfair advantage.
Norwegian ski jumper Silje Opseth told Norwegian newspaper VG that the judges didn't follow the normal procedure when measuring the suits.
“I don’t quite know what to say. … They measured (the suits) in a completely different way and used a new procedure," Opseth said. "We were told to stand in a different way than we have ever done before.”
This was the first time a mixed team event was held at the Olympics, giving the female jumpers one more chance at a medal. Women's ski jumping only made its Olympic debut in 2014 in Sochi, but unlike the men they only have one individual competition on the normal hill and don't compete in a large hill event.
Norwegian coach Clas Brede Braaten added: “I’m lost for words, really. This is very painful for the athletes.
"We were supposed to introduce a new event, and give the women one more event at the Olympics, and then this happens.
"And why was it only the girls who were disqualified? This is unfortunately a sad day for our sport."
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