German Misses Olympic Race due to Cellphone

German speedskater Patrick Beckert will probably never look at a cellphone the same way ever again.patrick-beckert-pic

The 19-year-old athlete was listed as the fourth alternate in the 10,000 meter race Wednesday, February 24. A slot opened up for him during the race. Officials tried to reach him after two-time gold medalist Enrico Fabris of Italy withdrew from the competition and the first three alternates cannot be reached.

The German delegation was told that Beckert could compete if he can come to the oval on time.  They all tried to contact him, including his sister Stephanie Beckert, but to no avail. He later called back but it was 17 minutes before the race which was not enough for him to reach the Richmond Olympic Oval in time. It was reported that his cellphone was either turned-off or was in silent mode.

Helge Jasch took the blame for the incident saying that he should have had Beckert report to the oval even if the chances for a fourth alternate to participate is very, very slim.

In any case, it is a lesson to Beckert that he should have his phone working whenever he is in a competition, especially if he makes it again to the team in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Russia.

Sister Stephanie, a fellow Olympian, however, won silver medals in the 3000 meters and 5000 meters. Patrick was able to compete in the 5000 meters and finished 22nd place.