Officiating At The Tokyo Olympics - The Men's 10K Marathon Swim

Officiating At The Tokyo Olympics – The Men’s 10K Marathon Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Odaiba Marine Park, Tokyo Bay, Japan.

Ferry Weertman won the most dramatic race possible on Copacabana Beach as he led a chase pack to catch Australia’s Jarrod Poort on the last lap of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Poort led by as much as 1 minute 15 seconds and still held onto a 45-second lead with 2 km to go, but Weertman and the rest of the trailing pack just started to put on their sprint. With 600 meters to go, Poort was no longer a factor in the race, but the top swimmers were in an 8-wide formation. Each of the men were strung out shoulder-to-shoulder and had an excellent shot at winning the gold medal.

I had a perfect finish,” Weertman told Bonnie Ford of ESPN. For more information on Weertman’s winning race, visit here (Dutch Treat! Ferry Weertman Wins Olympic 10K Marathon Swim).

Ultimately, the finish judges determine the final official placing of the marathon swimmers. It comes down to the human eye, not the touchpad electronics like in the swimming pool. On the final stroke of the men’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the FINA referees judged Weertman out touched Spiros Gianniotis [see photo above].

But with 25 athletes swimming around 28 turn buoys and feeding stations during a 7-loop race over a nearly 2-hour period, there are inevitable bumps and infractions,” explained Steven Munatones. “There are two essential rules in competitive marathon swimming: unsportsmanlike conduct and impeding. There are innumerable instances of bumping, scratching, pulling on legs or arms, cutting offveering into, tapping or touching, slapping, clipping, conking, swiping, whacking, pulling off on on goggles and swim caps, obstructing, interfering, pummeling, nudging, punching, kicking, elbowing, pushing, jostling, shoving, crowding, banging [against], smacking, pull-backsziplining, smashing into or pressing against another athlete or a turn buoy or feeding station.

Under those circumstances, making the right call within a split second over an intense two-hour period is extremely difficult. Referees can ask themselves, ‘Was that impeding intentional or unintentional?’ Who can really tell if a bump or elbow is truly a conscious act or an act of retribution, or simply an accident?

The pressure on the officials and referees is tremendous – and no one wants to get a call wrong because that literally change who wins a medal or not.”

Similar to a channel crossing with one swimmer assisted by many support crew members and escorted by a pilot, there are always more volunteers helping to put together a marathon swim than the actual number of swimmers.

The 42 officials of the men’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo Bay include the following individuals – and this total does not include photographers and videographers on media boats, cameramen on shore, kayakers on the water, various pilots, and other communications and logistics personnel and volunteers on shore and in the water:

25 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Male Finalists:

1. Florian Wellbrock (Germany)
2. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France)
3. Rob Muffels (Germany)
4. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
5. Jordan Wilimovsky (USA)
6. Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy)
7. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
8. Alberto Martinez (Spain)
9. Mario Sanzullo (Italy)
10. David Aubry (France)
11. Hector Thomas Cheal Pardoe (Great Britain)
12. Athanasios Kynigakis (Greece)
13. Matan Roditi (Israel)
14. Kai Graeme Edwards (Australia)
15. Taishin Minamide (Japan)
16. Tiago Campos (Portugal)
17. Kirill Abrosimov (Russia)
18. David Farinango (Ecuador)
19. Ous Mellouli (Tunisia)
20. Michael McGlynn (South Africa)
21. Daniel Delgadillo (Mexico)
22. Matej Kozubek (Czech Republic)
23. Hau-Li Fan (Canada)
24. Phillip Seidler (Namibia)
25. William Yan Thorley (Hong Kong)

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Steven Munatones