Runners in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final at the World Athletics Championships had to take evasive action to avoid hitting a camera operator who was inexplicably standing in the middle of the track.
While the steeplechase runners are quite used to navigating obstacles, an absent-minded cameraman focused on filming the women’s triple jump is not usually what they have to get around.
The incident happened on Monday causing the commentators to express utter astonishment and blaming the field of runners spreading out on the first lap incident.
“That is a big, big mistake there…that takes a lot out of you and fortunate that no-one fell there,” says Kara Goucher on commentary.
All of the athletes parted en masse to successfully avoid the cameraman, whose back was turned to the oncoming traffic.
“I was a little worried that he was going to dart one way or another, right at the last second,” Evan Jager of the United States said afterward. “But thankfully he didn’t realize we were there until we all passed him.”
Getty Images photographer Patrick Smith captured a fabulus shot of the confused runners making their way around the hapless cameraman with looks of annoyance on their faces.
What the…?!?! Lol my hat is off to @karagoucher for not losing her cool on the live broadcast when the cameraman… became the 29th barrier of the men’s steeple final!? 😳 #wcoregon22 pic.twitter.com/zx00UpdFxL
— Sally Bergesen (@oiselle_sally) July 19, 2022
Social media was predictably quick to react to the incident with Canadian athelete Justyn Knight tweeting: “Cameraman trying to catch angles never seen before in the steeplechase?”
Meanwhile a fan joked: “They should add a cameraman obstacle to all future steeplechase competitions.”
Steeplechase athletes have to jump 28 barriers, seven water jumps, and in this case — a wandering cameraman. Olympic champion Soufiane El-Bakkali of Morocco won the race after he kicked for the line 200 meters from the finish. Lamecha Girma took silver for Ethiopia while Conseslus Kipruto, representing Kenya, rounded out the medal positions.
Back in 2015, Usan Bolt was floored by a cameraman on a segway at the World Championships in Beijng. On that occasion, the cameraman had clipped a barrier and lost control of the segway which careered into the Jamaican superstar.