The International Cycling Union has fined cyclist Sophie Unwin and her rider Georgia Holt after the two staged a “mock” ceremony with borrowed medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Despite placing third in the Tandem B sprint event on the track, the pair were not officially awarded bronze medals because only four teams participated, with regulations stipulating that only gold and silver medals be awarded in this instance.
According to reports, the couple felt they deserved the medals and took it upon themselves to mark the occasion by borrowing bronze medals from teammates in England, including Laura Kenny.
They protested by standing behind the podium carrying the England flag during the gold and silver medal ceremony, and asked security to move. They later put them on the empty stage with their borrowed bronze medals in order to film an informal ceremony.
Their actions led to a fine of 200 Swiss francs each from the International Cycling Union, cycling’s governing body, for “failing to respect the instructions of the commissioner/organizer”.
However, they did receive an apology from the event’s organizer, the Commonwealth Games Foundation, which admitted some error in the confusion.
There were five teams on the entry list for the Tandem B race but only four started the event, kicking off the base. However, their competition with Scotland was billed as a bronze-medal race by event officials, and Unwin and Holt were thrust toward the podium after their race, only to be informed then that they would not be getting medals – a decision that reportedly left them in tears.
“In the small number of cases where there are fewer than five entries into a Commonwealth Games event, the CGF applies a medal allocation policy to maintain the integrity of the competition,” a CGF spokesperson said.
“The policy – published in January of this year – states that only gold and silver medals are awarded where there are only four runners; and gold medals only where there are only three or two runners.
“Unfortunately, while the women’s tandem B event was informed of this prior to the race, the scoreboard and scoresheet incorrectly indicated that it was a bronze medal race. We apologize to the athletes involved for the unintended ordeal this caused.”