German Cycling Official Is Sent Home After Racial Slur on Olympics Telecast


The sports director for Germany’s cycling program has been stripped of his duties and sent home one day after he repeatedly shouted a racial slur during a televised time trial at the Olympics, the country’s Olympic sports federation said on Thursday.

Watching from the sidelines as a German cyclist trailed two competitors from Algeria and Eritrea in a men’s time trial on Wednesday, the director, Patrick Moster, could be heard on camera yelling “get the camel drivers,” according to an English translation by the news website Deutsche Welle.

The episode came one day after a Greek broadcaster cut ties with a commentator for a racist comment about South Korean table tennis athletes, further undermining the themes of inclusion and good will that are an emphasis for organizers of the games.

It also followed attacks on Naomi Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony, but whose Japanese identity was openly questioned after her ouster from the women’s tennis competition.

Mr. Moster apologized for his derogatory reference to the two cyclists from African countries. They were Azzedine Lagab of Algeria and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier of Eritrea.

“In the heat of the moment and with the overall burden that we have here at the moment, my choice of words was not appropriate,” he told D.P.A., a German news agency. “I am so sorry, I can only sincerely apologize. I didn’t want to discredit anyone. We have many friends with North African roots. As I said, I’m sorry.”

Mr. Moster’s exhortation drew widespread condemnation in Germany, including from Alfons Hörmann, the president of the country’s Olympic sports federation.

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Mr. Hörmann said that the federation had accepted Mr. Moster’s apology as being sincere, but that his comments had breached the Olympic values. He said that “fair play, respect and tolerance” were “nonnegotiable.”

A representative for the International Olympic Committee, whose president, Thomas Bach, is German, said that the organization welcomed “the swift reaction” of the country’s Olympic sports federation. “Comments such as these have no place at the Olympic Games,” the representative said in an email.

The Union Cycliste Internationale, the world cycling association, announced on Thursday that its disciplinary commission had decided to provisionally suspend Mr. Moster, saying that his remarks had been contrary to basic rules of decency.

“The U.C.I. condemns all forms of racist and discriminatory behaviour and strives to ensure integrity, diversity and equality in cycling,” the organization said in a statement.

Team Africa Rising, a group seeking to promote cycling in Africa, called for Mr. Moster to resign and said that his explanation was “horrific.”

It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Moster would eventually be allowed to continue in his role with the German cycling program.

Nikias Arndt, the German cyclist to whom Mr. Moster had been shouting at when he used the slur, distanced himself from him on Twitter. He called Mr. Moster’s comments appalling and said that they were unacceptable.

Mr. Lagab, the Algerian cyclist, took a sarcastic tone on Twitter.

“Well, There is no camel race in #olympics that’s why I came to cycling,” he wrote. “At least I was there in #Tokyo2020.”

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Moments after cameras picked up Mr. Moster’s comments, Florian Nass, a German commentator, said that words had failed him and that there was no place for that kind of behavior in the sport.

One day earlier, ERT, a public broadcaster in Greece, said that it had terminated its relationship with a commentator after he made a racist comment about the eyes of a South Korean table tennis competitor.

At the start of the games, a South Korean broadcaster apologized for airing “inappropriate” photos next to countries in the opening ceremony. The images drew criticism from viewers, who said they were offensive or had perpetuated stereotypes.

For Ukraine, the broadcaster, MBC, aired a photo of Chernobyl, reminding viewers about the nuclear disaster that happened in 1986. When it was Malaysia’s turn in the parade of nations, MBC showed a graphic with that country’s coronavirus vaccination rate, along with its gross domestic product. And for Haiti, it showed scenes of violence in the streets.