Triathlon: Sweden fail in appeal to upgrade Lisa Norden to gold after disputed photo-finish

 

Sweden have failed with a last-ditch attempt to have Lisa Norden upgraded from silver to a share of gold in the Olympic women's triathlon.

Norden crossed the line in the same time as Switzerland's Nicola Spirig in last Saturday's race, but the International Triathlon Union (ITU) said the photo-finish put her in second position.

Appeals to the ITU from Sweden's national Olympic committee and triathlon federation both failed, prompting a move from both bodies to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Swedes contended that the ITU did not adhere to their rules and had not considered the position of the athletes' torsos when crossing the line.

A CAS panel examined the case last night and decided the ITU had acted correctly and the initial result should stand.

In a statement, CAS said: "The panel rendered its decision this morning: it denied the application in view of the fact that there was no violation of any ITU rule and that the matter concerned a 'field-of-play decision' which, according to long standing CAS jurisprudence, is unable to be reviewed by CAS panels except in the event that there has been arbitrariness or bad faith in arriving at such decision."

Sweden claimed that Hungarian referee Dr Bela Varga, who ruled on the photo-finish, had reached his decision "by reference to the whole of the upper body and, in particular, the athlete's belly, rather than by reference to the foremost part of the torso crossing the line".

A secondary camera meant to provide a back-up image for the photo finish, from the opposite side of the finish line, had malfunctioned.

Sweden argued that the base of Spirig's torso could not be seen on the photo-finish image and said that rather than being a field-of-play issue, the decision was "a violation of or a failure to apply the rules".

Both triathletes finished the race in a time of one hour, 59 minutes and 48 seconds.

PA

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