Triathlon social media sites have been buzzing throughout the day after watching today’s live coverage of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St. George. American fan favourite Sam Long was given a five-minute penalty, and there was some question as to what exactly the penalty was for.
With that in mind, Ironman just posted a video in which it clarified with the day’s head official as to what happened.
“The penalty actually happened a minute or a minute and a half before the penalty was actually televised … it takes some time for the referee to move past the media bikes and be able to notify the athlete of the penalty, and that’s exactly what occurred here,” Ron Kowalcyzk said in the interview that was posted on Facebook. “The penalty was for slotting in – that’s a drafting penalty. When you have two athletes who are properly spaced, 12 m apart, then you would have to pass both athletes before you can move to the right.”
Since Long was in the process of passing a number of people, he needed to pass the entire group since they were all spaced 12 m apart. Because he “slotted in” between two riders who were 12 m apart, he technically entered the draft zone of another athlete, which is why the official gave him the penalty.