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Track And Field

Hey Man … You Can’t Be Here

EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 18: Athletes in the Men's 3000m Steeplechase Final run around a cameraman on the track on day four of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

One thing that is maybe not apparent to people who watch track and field competition on TV is that there are often multiple events occurring simultaneously and in close proximity. So that’s how you end up with a situation like this, in which a camera man just wandered onto the track during the men’s steeplechase final at the World Athletics Championships on Monday night:

What happened here is that the oblivious camera man stepped out onto the track while trying to get a shot of the women’s triple jump event, which was unfolding nearby. It is certainly not good to just stand in the middle of the track while a pack of 15 steeplechasers are bearing down on you, and we are forced to point out that this big galoot must work on his Field Awareness stat before his next gig. But! Things could have been much worse, and we must give some credit to Mr. Magoo over here for doing one thing right, and that is standing extremely still.

Because the camera man was so focused on his task and inattentive to his surroundings that he did not move an inch, it was fairly easy for the runners to get around him without incident. U.S. runner Evan Jager even said as much after the race: “I was a little worried that he was going to dart one way or another, right at the last second, but thankfully he didn’t realize we were there until we all passed him.”

If there is a lesson to be taken from this incident, I believe it is this: If you fuck up big-time, the best thing to do in the immediate aftermath is absolutely nothing. Nobody has ever made anything worse by standing still.