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Olympics

French Marathoner Is Either Extremely Evil Or Just Kind Of Clumsy

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

If there’s one thing the Tokyo Olympics were missing, aside from a single compelling reason to have occurred at all, it was a good villain. Sure, you could try to get worked up about whatever doping scandal led to all the athletes from Russia competing as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee, but I don’t even remember what that was all about, to be honest. Perhaps it was this lack of Olympic villainy that led people to focus their ire, during the last weekend of competition, onto French marathon runner Morhad Amdouni.

Now, at long last, here is a guy to get mad at!

At first glance, this appears to be a most brazen and dastardly display of shenanigans. Look at him just run his arm through that entire line of neatly arranged water bottles, knocking them all to the floor before grabbing the last one in the row, thus denying the exhausted runners behind him any hydration opportunities. Those are the actions of a real bastard!

Or are they? A slowed-down, zoomed-in version of the clip shows that Amdouni wasn’t so much sweeping the bottles away as he was clumsily trying and failing to grasp at them.

Now see, this is the good stuff. Nothing gets the blood pumping like an opportunity to analyze grainy pixels of video footage over and over again in order to determine whether or not someone is guilty of being an asshole. What you have been given here is a delicious opportunity to make your own personal judgment on Amdouni, and decide for yourself whether he is a big sack of crap or a just a clumsy doofus.

Personally, I do not think that poor Amdouni is a sack of crap, though I must admit that his explanation for what happened—he claims the bottles were wet so as to “guarantee freshness,” and thus were hard to grab—doesn’t do him any favors. But instead of contemplating how soaking some plastic water bottles would affect the freshness of the water contained therein, or why a person would think such a thing is possible, I choose to trust what I see on the tape, which is a man, exhausted from running many miles in the brutal Sapporo heat, understandably going all Mr. Magoo on a row of water bottles.

I will admit that there is another possibility at play, which is that Amdouni’s feeble grasping at the bottles was simply an advanced tactic meant to disguise his true intention of denying cold, refreshing water to the competitors behind him. If that is the case then Amdouni truly is one of the great Olympic villains, and you simply have to hand it to him.

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