Russian speedskater Daniil Aldoshkin has apologized for displaying a middle finger following his team’s victory over the U.S. in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
A video surfaced online showing Aldoshkin making the obscene gesture as he crossed the finish line with teammates Ruslan Zakharov and Sergey Trofimov to defeat Team USA in the men’s team pursuit semifinals.
Russia’s victory earned them a ticket to the gold medal race and a guaranteed medal in the event, according to USA Today.
Aldoshkin reportedly said that he didn’t mean to offend anyone with that gesture, adding he was celebrating at the moment.
“I threw up my hands, I have the first medal, the first Olympics,” Aldoshkin said, according to RT.com. I didn’t mean anything like that. I’m sorry if this offended anyone.”
In a statement, Russian Skating Union president Alexei Kravtsov also reportedly apologized for Aldoshkin’s actions but defended the speedskater as well.
“Emotions took over at the finish line, there was no subtext in this action,” Kravtsov said, the Russian news outlet reported. “We are sorry if someone differently perceived this situation and (it) offended someone. On behalf of the Russian Skating Union, we offer our official apologies.”
Russia eventually claimed a silver medal in the men’s team pursuit final at the Games, falling behind to Norway, USA Today noted.
Team USA claimed a bronze medal in the event.