American runner Paul Chelimo thought he earned a silver medal in the 5000 meter Olympic finals on Saturday night, but when he went to do a post-race interview on NBC, he learned some heartbreaking news on live television: He had been disqualified.
NBC's Lewis Johnson began the interview, saying: "Paul, I am getting some information here that you have been disqualified in this final."
Chelimo, upon being told the news, looked genuinely shocked but somehow stuck with the interview.
The reaction you have when you first hear your Olympic silver medal is taken away, as Paul Chelimo is told just that https://t.co/JAPnoU1MFV— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) August 21, 2016
"Disqualified? No, no, no," the Kenyan-American athlete said quietly, visibly distressed by the turn of events. "I was trying to go to the outside to get in position. They were blocking me in. They were pushing me into the rail. I was trying to save myself from all of the pushing."
Chelimo was disqualified over the contact that occurred on the final lap.
"I can't believe it. I was running a fair race. I wasn't trying to pick someone. I was trying to go to the outside because the Cuban guy kept blocking me the whole time."
Fortunately, the runner’s appeal to the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, was upheld just more than an hour later.
Chelimo was then awarded his silver medal, which is the United States' first in the event since 1964.