The incident caused massive confusion at the start of the event when the starting gun went off with the boat still directly in front of the starting platform. The pilot then had to rush backwards as race officials recalled those who had started the swim.
“The starting gun appeared to go off early while a boat with a camera crew was still in the starting zone,” reads an explanation on the official Olympic Games blog.
After the restart, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt won gold – his country’s first medal at Tokyo 2020 – with a time of 1:45:04.
Alex Yee from Great Britain claimed the silver medal and Hayden Wilde from New Zealand took the bronze.
Blummenfelt said he was “surprised” by the boat incident, but ultimately saw it as “a positive thing” because it was “good practice”.
Blummenfelt said after the race that he would have been disappointed with anything other than a gold medal.
When asked when he realized he was going to win, Blummenfelt replied: “When I was on the pontoon ready to go.”
Bronze medalist Wilde also spoke about the false start after the race.
“I was caught up in that, but it was pretty good, but a little annoying at the same time because I looked to the left and I was like, ‘oh man, I’ve had a great start, this isn’t happening to me,'” said Wilde, who said that it was “pretty good” to have his arms move a short distance.
“But still, it raised the heart rate a little too much. It is what it is and you just have to stay calm, and sometimes that happens and you just have to go with the punches.”
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