'Get the camel drivers': Racism scandal in Olympic cycling

Sports Thursday 29/July/2021 06:01 AM
By: DW
'Get the camel drivers': Racism scandal in Olympic cycling
Nikias Arndt competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo: As Germany's Nikias Arndt chased down his opponents during the men's road time trial, his federation's sporting director Patrick Moster was shouting out words of encouragement.

Yet Moster's encouragement turned unsavory as he screamed, "Get the camel drivers" multiple times. 

Arndt was attempting to make ground on Algeria's Azzedine Lagab and Eritrea's Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier.

The vision and audio were broadcast on live television, with ARD commentator Florian Nass left gobsmacked as he reacted: "If I've really understood what he was shouting, that was totally wrong."

"Words fail me," Nass added. "Something like that has no place in sport."

Moster, sporting director of the German cycling federation (BDR), has since been forced to apologize.

"In the heat of the moment and with the overall burden that we have here at the moment, my choice of words was not appropriate," he told German news agency DPA.

"I am extremely sorry and can only offer my sincere apologies. I didn't want to offend anyone."

Fierce backlash

BDR President Rudolf Scharping said the comments were "unacceptable," while German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) president Alfons Hörmann said the organization stood for "respect, fair play and tolerance."

"It is important that Patrick Moster apologized immediately after the competition. We will seek a personal conversation with him today and deal with the situation," Hörmann said.

Arndt, who finished 19th in the time trial, distanced himself from the comments via social media, saying he was "appalled" by the incident.

"Such words are not acceptable," he wrote.

"The Olympics and cycling stand for tolerance, respect and fairness. I represent these values ​​100% and take my hat off to all the great athletes who have come from all over the world here in Tokyo."