Olympic speedskater Daniil Aldoshkin flashed a double bird after his Russian team beat the United States in the team pursuit semifinals on Tuesday ― but he seemed to claim that he flipped off no one in particular.
The gesture added more tension to a Games now dominated by the doping scandal involving star Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.
Russia’s Olympic team was sanctioned for systemic drug offenses at the Sochi 2014 Games and is known as the Russian Olympic Committee in Beijing.
So, maybe Aldoshkin was merely exhibiting defiance to the world, or declaring he and his teammates were No. 1 — twice?
“Emotions took over at the finish line,” Russian Skating Union President Alexei Kravtsov said, per RT. “There was no subtext in this action. We are sorry if someone differently perceived this situation and offended someone. On behalf of the Russian Skating Union, we offer our official apologies.”
Turns out Russia wasn’t No. 1 overall, anyway. The ROC lost to Norway and settled for silver. The Americans earned bronze.