Suspicion and Intrigue on the Track at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics | Strangest Moments

Suspicion and Intrigue on the Track at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics | Strangest Moments


When Khalid Skah stepped on
the podium in 1992, two days after winning the
men’s 10,000 metres, the Barcelona crowd made it
clear what it thought of the Moroccan’s performance. The jeers that rained down on
Skah greeted one of the most controversial victories in
modern Olympic Games history. In the minds of those fans, Skah was one of the all-time
Olympic Games sinners, alongside his team-mate and
alleged co-conspirator, Hammou Boutayeb. The men stood accused of
engineering a cynical triumph that went beyond the limits
of acceptable race strategy. Richard Chelimo of Kenya had been denied gold by his
archrivals from North Africa,
who had run the race as a team. The accusations were far
from proven. Boutayeb’s behaviour was
certainly unusual, but in the eyes of some
observers, he was innocent. Perhaps it was karma. The Kenyans themselves had
often been accused of some dubious team racing. Either way, Skah’s triumph
felt very hollow indeed. In 1992, the Kenyans and
Moroccans were the kings of long-distance running. Morocco had the reigning
Olympic champion in its ranks, but Kenya dominated
the 10,000 metres at the World Championships the
previous year. Eight of the world’s 11 fastest
men over the distance were Kenyan. In Barcelona, the scene was set
for the next battle. The atmosphere was hostile. And by the time the race
was 6,500 metres old, all other parties slipped away. It was Chelimo verus Skah,
head-to-head. That, at least, was how it
seemed. But coming towards
the end of lap 22, the race leaders encountered
that man, Boutayeb. He was second last, a back
marker, a man whose only job now was to
move aside and be lapped. But Boutayeb would not be
moved. And what happened over the next
few laps was the source of
the controversy. Boutayeb wouldn’t get out
of the way. Chelimo and Skah overtook him, but then he overtook them right
back. They passed again, but Boutayeb run alongside
them, then he got back in front. What was Boutayeb doing
back there, anyway? He was 36,
but still an elite athlete. It looked like
a Moroccan conspiracy. The idea seemed to be too slow
down and distract Chelimo with all the suspicious
shenanigans, and then allow Skah to run
clear. Race officials thought it was
odd. The chairman of the IAAF
technical committee stepped onto the track to try and hold back Boutayeb. The crowd grew restless,
and booed what they saw. And even after Skah sprinted
clear of Chelimo to cross the line first, and blew kisses to the
supporters, he found he had few. They believed they had
witnessed a con. Almost immediately,
the authorities concurred. The IAAF disqualified Skah,
citing a breach of rule 143.2. But Skah said he had no idea
what Boutayeb had been up to. They weren’t even friends. Skah said Boutayeb was an
animal and an imbecile. TRANSLATION: I think as a
former champion it was an embarrassment for him
to be lapped. The authorities were stung by
claims that they had been hasty. Skah said they were racist
and thieves. And the IAAF relented again. They reinstated Skah and gave
him the gold medal. But what was the truth?
Will we ever know? Chelimo said he heard Boutayeb
and Skah talking to each other on the track.
What was being said? TRANSLATION: I was yelling at
him to go away. “You are making big troubles.
You are making big troubles.” But inside the big stadium
was 50,000 people yelling and whistling, you cannot hear
anything. The Kenyans threatened to walk
out. The credibility of the sport
was in jeopardy. But Boutayeb remained silent, even as Skah stepped onto
the podium to receive his medal. What could I do? It was my duty and obligation to go out there and face it as
best as I could. I was smiling, but
very sad inside. My honour was at stake. And I would not go out and face
them if I had felt I had dishonoured myself.

100 Replies to “Suspicion and Intrigue on the Track at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics | Strangest Moments”

  1. Totally not intended and 100% an accident. Also santa is real. He deserved to be stripped off that medal.

  2. He received assistance. If they conspired in advance, that makes it so much worse, but even if they didn't, that still doesn't remove the fact that he received assistance. I doubt the cited rule specifies that assistance becomes acceptable if the athlete being assisted isn't on the plot nor agrees with it.

  3. He should have been stripped of the medal regardless of whether he approved of the assistance or not. If it is true that it wasn't planned, taking away his victory would have been unfair, but that was an even greater injustice to the other athlete who came in second.

  4. Isn't it super easy to tell if he's blocking both or just the Kenyan? If he's blocking both then it shouldn't matter. Also, I don't think people would conspire to cheat in such a dimwitted and obvious manner, all while being watched by authorities. People in the comments need to use their brains more.

  5. The classic excuse of "they are racists !", but it would be more believable if it had been to help a white man… Racism doesn't really hold its ground here. And the smile he had when he received the medal when being booed proves that he doesn't care of what the crowd thinks about him. An athlet helped in this way against his will wouldn't be that proud to receive a medal. He was there for the win, whatever the price, and whatever people were thinking. (Yeah, I don't believe in the "I was sad inside")

  6. Skah not good enough to win without cheating. "Race" effectively null and void. IOC or IAAF could have taken action then or at any time since. Try a few searches of the man's behaviour since then and make your own mind up

  7. Strange things DO happen during competition and sometimes athletes will NOT fairplay. In my opinion the winner DID NOTHING wrong except that his fellow countryman made him look bad.

  8. To me nothing was wrong. In the high level of intense competition like this, everyone will use the strategies that work for them and attack opponents in smart ways. Everyone has been trained to face off psychology, Physical and philosophical races in time to time. It was the time to show how good they were in the training. You could not control others minds and behaviours, you only can control and manage yourself. You had to find the way to escape from any attacks from your rivals because they wanted to win as you did. Win is win.

  9. If he has such a skill to go with both of them even better than them,he would focus on the position rather than obstructing the kenyan.

  10. The irony is that Kenyans are the biggest cheaters when it comes to long distance running they are known for taking peds and were even banned from the Olympics for it lol

  11. of course there was a conspiracy ….if the so called athlete was afraid of being over-lapped what was he doing back then

  12. The only person who knows what was going on in the track Skah and Boutayeb. No one else knows what they were talking about. Just because it looks bad does not mean it is bad. Skah might have been lying or telling the truth. They were talking but of course no one could hear.

  13. Bhoutayeb moved to be passed in a couple instances in this video…probably the fact that he was hanging around too close to them

  14. There sure are a lot of people in the comments of these videos that cannot handle accents. Don't watch videos about a worldwide game if you cannot handle accents. It's just so lame to feel the need to point out that a T sound is being formed differently in her mouth than how it forms in yours…. smh.

  15. At the end of the day he received assistance, whether is was planned or not. The Kenyan was impeded. He should have been demoted to silver at the very least.

  16. Skah is an eternal disgrace to the people of Morocco. This was the most sickening display of bad sportsmanship that anyone has ever seen at the Olympic Games. One can tell from the video that Skah and Bouttaub were together. Skah has no honor.

  17. Maybe I dont understand running but didn't he basically block both of them from getting ahead? It wasn't like his teammate was in front and he was slowing the other guy down. Would it really affect the result?

  18. There is no suspicion or intrigue as to why Khalid Skah was re-instated to the gold medal after he had been initilly disqualified for allegedly receiving help to block Chelimo,from a fellow country man, Hammou Boutayeb, who was being lapped with 3 laps to go.

    I was the personal manager and coach to Richard Chelimo and set all his training in London, leading to his earlier world record for 10,000mts in Stockholm and through to his attempt to win gold at the Barcelona Olympics.

    Shortly after the sensational race it was declared that Skah was disqualified and that Chelimo would be awarded the gold medal the following day at the medal ceremony. An immediate appeal was made by the Moroccon team delegation but which looked in everyone's eyes, bound to fail because the rules were quite clear about a lapped runner not allowed in any way to impede or try to go to the front having been lapped. That in itself would only have meant a disqualification for Boutayeb, but the prolonged effort by Boutayeb interfering in the race, leading, dropping back and then leading again and the obvious fact that Skah was being told something to him by Boutayeb and he still continued for over a lap with no response from Skah, led to the not unreasonable suspicion that he was colluding with Skah to help him, which caused both to be disqualified.

    Both denied any collusion and Skah claimed he was telling Boutayeb to get out of the way. This seemed very unlikely, because of the way it proceeded and Skah made no real attempt or show of anger and certainly if Boutayeb was told by his Skah to get out of the way, he would have done so or incurred a lot of wrath afterwards from Skah and the team management, especially had Skah lost the race.

    However, the IAAF responsible for the rules of competition, decided after reviewing the video replays, that the two had definitely colluded and subsequently they were disqualifed, (although Boutayeb stepped off the track without completing the race)

    It should also be noted, aside from the interference by Boutayeb, that with just 130 mts to go (not seen in this video) with Chelimo leading the sprint, Skah passed him and cut very quickly inside blocking and causing Chelimo to check his stride, and losing momentum. This is also against the IAAF rules as they state, (I paraphrase) ' a runner cannot in passing another athlete, move inside, within a 1 meter space and causing to block them'; but it has to be seen as deliberate.

    As I understood it from an IAAF source, before it was due to be announced later that night, the Moroccon appeal failed and Chelimo would be duely awarded the win. BUT, the next morning at around 10am it was announced that Skah had been re-instated and would be awarded the gold medal. This obviously caused considerable outrage from most people and the media were also aghast.

    I tried to contact the Kenyan team delagation to hear their reaction but incredibly they were all out shopping and the first they appeared to know was when I met them coming back into the Village (with bags of shopping!) They too were outraged and could not understand why Skah was re-instated.

    What transpired, I discovered, was that late that previous night, Juan Samaranch, the President of the IOC, had received a phone call from King Hassan II of Morocco………Need I say any more!

  19. This documentary didn't show the most important part. When Skah began sprinting. It's important to see if Boutayeb could have as well. If he was free or not. I think they did it to make the documentary more dramatic. Another conspiracy, possibly.

  20. Skah seems very reflective and genuine. I believe his version of how the race unfolded. He deserves his Olympic gold medal.

    Boutayeb may have been from Morocco, but he distracted and impeded both runners.

  21. Is passing someone and trying to stay ahead an “illegal” action in the Olympics? Because he wasn’t getting assisted, if anything the Kenyan guy was getting hold back because the other guy was running in a smart way. I don’t really see what’s so wrong about it.

  22. I was there, and I booed! The race and the medal ceremony. Frankly, the organisers could have handled it much better and I think lessons were learned.

  23. Chelimo was robbed his gold here. I was watching this race and very angry. This was an illegal gold medal. It was obvious that his teammate helped him out destructing Richard. Kenya was robbed……

  24. En realidad. ¿me podéis decir que realmente sucedió?, porque yo miro la carrera y no veo que pueda haber pasado. Y lo pregunto seriamente.

  25. Ahora he visto bien la carrera y si me parece que el que ganó recibió ayuda descarada, porque uno que está ya doblado, mira que se pone a correr como si quisiera ganar la carrera y justamente por mera casualidad bloquea a un competidor contrario. Porque para mi es bloquearle su paso.

  26. Lapped runners are always suppose to move out to the outer lanes. I had the Cable Red, White and Blue channel to watch all of the Olympics. Took two weeks off from work. It Was great. All the heats.

  27. If there was no agreement of assistance that would be a reason to not accept the medal for me, I would love given it from my neck to the Kenyan guy.. if I'm going to win I want it crystal clear Never by any kind of assistance.

  28. Nah, I don't think taking away his medal was a good idea. After all, he was not the one at fault. If anything, that Boutayeb dude should have been disqualified and taken off the tracks right away by the authorities.

  29. Boutayeb estorba a los dos corredores, no sólo a su compatriota…los kenianos siempre se quejan de todo

  30. I've actually watched this race. He blocked both men, slowing both of them down, not just the Kenyan. Likely a bad case of pride, not liking being lapped.

  31. What assistance did Skah receive? Bouttaib (who was actually the defending champion from 1988) was allowed to run with the people that lap him if he wanted to and I didn't see any point where he actually impeded Chelimo. If he got in front and slowed down Chelimo had plenty of room to pass him if he wanted to go faster and if he got in front and tried to get them to go faster they were under no obligation to follow them. I suspect that he was just thinking for a bit that maybe he didn't want to end up being lapped because it's a bit humiliating. If he was plotting with Skah we would have seen him trying much harder to stay really close to Chelimo and actually make him adjust his stride, but he never did. Bouttaib kept a bit of space ahead of Chelimo whenever he went back in front of them. The official really had no business going onto the track and physically contacting Bouttaib. Staying with the runners that lapped him for this long was not very sportsmanlike for sure and he should have just stayed clear and let the other two race on their own, but it wasn't against any rules and it didn't really affect the race. Skah was going to outsprint Chelimo here no matter what, and it was correct to reinstate him and let him keep the gold medal. But it was a bit bizarre to watch because we don't generally see anything like it from lapped runners for more than 50 metres of so after which they usually just drop off.

  32. Both have always run strategically as teams to beat opponents. It's a stain on both nations' distance athletes. Not to mention the EPO problem both also have.

  33. Skah was actually bothered and impeded more. At the 2:40 mark of the video you can actually see Boutayeb move out to let Chelimo go ahead on the inside of the track. He was still outside Chelimo when the official tapped him on the arm. So, he was actually blocking and bothering Skah more than Chelimo. As to Skah cutting in front of Chelimo, that is not shown on this tape, but he obviously was outsprinting Chelimo to the wire. Skah deserved the gold medal.

  34. Why should Skah be stripped of his Gold? Skah didn't impede anyone. The Kenyan should have taken up a weight lifting program to be able to respond to being pushed around.

  35. The track official was way out of line. He has no business touching let alone pushing elite athletes on the track.

  36. The silver medalist Richard Chelimo, Rest in peace, he passed away back in 2001 in Eldoret, Kenya….he was a good guy.

  37. Around year 2000 Skah got some kids with a Norwegian woman. After big upsets between them, they divorced.

    Skah then kidnapped his own children and flew from Norway with them to his home country Morocco. There he held them as hostages for a long time, before the children finally were rescued.

    This man, Khalid Skah, was (and is) a really bad man in both talks and actions. A shame that he got this gold medal.

  38. Just DQ him and call it a day. Skah was a favorite to win the race anyways. Unless you can prove conspiracy, you shouldn't demote Skah based on the actions of his tm8.

  39. I loved chelimo and God bless him
    …RIP….but nobody was gonna beat Shah that day…I wanted Todd Williams to win or medal…but again..no one on that track that Monday night was gonna beat the great skah..

  40. I remember this at the time. It's a tough one. Boutayeb was a good runner and there's no reason he should have been lapped. I agreed with reinstating Skah because if you can't prove he and Boutayeb colluded, it's rather unfair to DQ him. Skah was a great runner and certainly capable of beating Chelimo without help. This kind of thing hasn't happened since but there probably needs to be a clear policy that you pull the lapped runner off the track if he doesn't stay way clear.

  41. Skah didn’t try to tell the other guy to go away. I watched the full race to make sure. This is crazy he’s a cheat.

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