Jack Burnell in the marathon swim event..

Jack Burnell goes on epic rant after swimming disqualification

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British swimmer Jack Burnell is about to become the most famous man in Team GB after going on an epic rant on the poor standard of judging at the Rio Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old was competing in the marathon swim on Tuesday morning, a notoriously challenging 10km distance event, but was handed a disqualification in the final meters.

Interviewed by the BBC in the immediate aftermath, the Loughborough-based athlete let rip at the judges who had made the decision, calling the two yellow cards he received "an absolute joke".

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He questioned whether the judges chosen to oversee the event were up the scratch and said four years of hard work had been ruined by two bad decisions.

Unsurprisingly, footage of the rant is now making its way around social media, so we thought we would save you the trouble of searching for it by embedding it below. No need to thank us.

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The video

He said: "I couldn't have physically touched anybody either side of me and I get a yellow card. You explain that to me. I shook my head at the guy. This is meant to be the pinnacle of our sport and you've got referees out there who don't know what they're doing.

“It’s supposed to be the grandest stage of them all with everything perfect, all this great scenery, and the one thing that ruins it is the referees. There’s 600 or however many boats out there, a ridiculous amount of boats – not needed – and every single person on the boat has no idea what they’re doing.

“They’re giving yellow cards out left, right and centre for absolutely nothing, and then disqualifying people 2m from the end when there’s people grabbing hold of legs and everything. The whole thing was ridiculous, an absolute joke.

He added: "Words can't describe. You put so much into this, you put four years of brutal hard work into this and it's ruined by a couple of judges."

Marathon Swimming - Olympics: Day 11

The official result

Burnell was in the mix for a medal in the final stage at Fort Copacabana but his disqualification made it easier for Dutch swimmer Ferry Weertman to claim gold in a time of 1hr 52min 59.8sec. Greece’s Spiros Gianniotis record the same time but replays confirmed he finished in second place.

France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier and Zu Lijun of China shared bronze while Burnell was given fifth place in the preliminary results before his disqualification was confirmed. 


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Greg Rutherford
Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Team GB
Commonwealth Games
Mo Farah

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