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This could have turned out much worse.
In a Track and Field World Championships that's making repeated headlines for what's gone wrong, another bizarre incident took center stage during Monday's competition, this time in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase.
In an event built around obstacles, runners ran into an unplanned impediment on the track — a cameraman. As competitors still bunched up in the early stages of the race ran down the stretch of the Hayward Field track, a cameraman stood in Lane 2 with his back turned to the field.
Runners faced a choice. Go left or go right. And hope to not get knocked down.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 19, 2022
Fortunately for the runners, the camera operator somehow remained still, and they all ran around him without further incident. After the race, U.S. runner Evan Jager explained his thought process when he saw the cameraman.
“I was a little worried that he was going to dart one way or another, right at the last second, but thankfully he didn’t realize we were there until we all passed him,” Jager said, per the New York Times.
So why was a camera operator standing in the middle of the field of competition? He was filming the nearby women's triple-jump final. Evidently nobody on his broadcast team informed him that there was live competition taking place on the track.
Morrocco's Soufiane El Bakkali won the event with a time of 8 minutes, 25.13 seconds. Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma finished in second while Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto finished in third. It's hard to say if the wayward cameraman impacted the outcome of the race.
Monday's mishap follows up Sunday's controversial false-start disqualifications of three sprinters including U.S. hurdler Devon Allen. The imperceptible infractions determined by digital starting blocks drew outrage from the track community, including from four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson.