Home > Rio 2016

Classy: Evan Dunfee releases statement after controversial podium-miss

Canadian Evan Dunfee released a statement after finishing a controversial fourth place in the men's 50K racewalk at the Olympics.

Evan Dunfee

Canadian Evan Dunfee finished fourth in today’s 50K racewalk at the Rio Olympics and was briefly upgraded to a bronze medal after a successful appeal. There was contact between Dunfee and a Japanese athlete, which resulted in the revised result.

Video of the bump

However, the Japanese athletics team filed a protest to Canada’s appeal, which was successful meaning that the original results stand. Dunfee released a statement after today’s events and displayed complete class and sportsmanship.

RELATED: Olympic racewalkers are faster, tougher than most runners.

Evan Dunfee’s full statement

“What a day, fourth place at the Olympics in a new national record. I couldn’t be more proud of my efforts out on the course today, I know that I left everything I possibly had out there and I can’t ask for anything more than that.

As many of you know after the race I was temporarily upgraded to the bronze medal due to a disqualification of the Japanese athlete after an altercation we had around the 49K mark. Following the race our coaching staff asked for a review of the video at which point the track referee decided that an infraction had taken place.

Following that the Japanese, as is their right, filed an appeal. This afternoon we learned that this appeal was successful and he had been reinstated to the bronze medal position.

It was then left for me to decide whether to pursue this further with an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Following my return to the village and my viewing of the incident I made the decision not to appeal, as I believe the right decision stood.

Not many people can understand the pain athletes are in three-and-a-half hours into such a grueling race. I believe that both the Japanese athlete and myself got tangled up but what broke me was that I let it put me off mentally and once I lost that focus, my legs went to jello. Contact is part of our event, whether written or unwritten and is quite common, and I don’t believe that this was malicious or done with intent. Even if an appeal to CAS were successful I would not have been able to receive that medal with a clear conscience and it isn’t something I would have been proud of.

I will sleep soundly tonight, and for the rest of my life, knowing I made the right decision. I will never allow myself to be defined by the accolades I receive, rather the integrity I carry through life.

Finally, thank you to everyone who supported myself and my teammate Mathieu Bilodeau today. To see racewalk receiving such a wide reception is absolutely amazing! My teammates and my competitors in this event never cease to inspire me and I hope that we have done the same to you today.

Evan Dunfee”

RELATED: Ashton Eaton responds to criticism for wearing Canadian hat in support of wife.