A Dutch Speed Skater Is Being Criticized For Sort of, Maybe Giving The Middle Finger While Posing On the Podium
In pretty much any other case I would have no reason to assume I was looking at anything other than abnormal hand placement. Unfortunately, Sjinkie Knegt's last foray into disappointment on a international stage produced the following gem...
Therefore, due to a past precedent of objectionable gestures as well the conclusive research I did by picking up random objects around my apartment without my most socially frowned upon finger awkwardly sticking out for no reason, I must say I have a hard time believing this non-explanation for it...
Knegt said, "It looked like I put up the middle finger. It's not intended … I just looked very bad in the photo, but it was not on purpose. I was just holding the medal." (h/t KoreaTimes)
That being said, the fact that it's even up for a debate is a pretty big step in the right direction, is it not? The Dutch speed skater should probably stop punctuating every failed attempt at winning a gold medal with a public "fuck you", but let's not pretend he hasn't come a long way. It's not like having four years of training become all for naught in a literal blink of a eye has become an easier pill for him to swallow. Yet somehow, he went from gliding through millions upon millions of television screens throughout the world with both his middle fingers raised skyward in the direction of his opponent to probably, but maybe not sending an understated bird towards the slick surface that was clearly at fault for slowing him done.
Still not the best look for someone who knows from experience better than to break from the holier than thou virtues of the Olympic Games, but that might as well have been a congratulatory handshake and a bow in comparison to his last "attempt" at sportsmanship. Who knows, maybe by 2022 he'll have learned to sneak a muddled expletive in between a couple fake coughs? Perhaps 2026 is the year he either wins or avoids looking like a sore of loser. Whatever the case may be, the fact that we are questioning the intention of his middle finger is proof positive that it's well on its way to moving in conjunction with the rest of his fingers. The mark of dedicated athlete is improvement, and that means displaying his frustrations more subtly while being closer in defeat is a victory in and of itself.