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Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad celebrated his victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the European Championships by shoving a 14-year-old girl in a mascot costume.
I saw this headline this morning and figured he accidentally ran into her or didn't see her or, at worst, lowered his shoulder into her while getting through a crowd of people. No athlete would shove a young girl like that in front of thousands of people and cameras. Nope. I thought too much of the Frenchman. He shoved her. With both hands. It's so uncalled for and vicious that it almost looks fake, like an outtake from a Sasha Baron Cohen movie.
The Age reports:
"It was not the first time that Mekhissi-Benabbad had picked on a mascot. After winning the same race at the 2010 championships in Barcelona, he asked a mascot to kneel in front of him before he pushed it to the ground, according to Le 10 Sport."
That's the track equivalent of a gangland execution!
Meet organizers have taken note of the shove and there's a chance the Frenchman could be reprimanded for the action. Whatever it is, it's unlikely to accurately punish the crime.
Booing at an Olympics should be reserved for judges in diving, gymnastics and boxing. It's too great an event to have any athletic villains. We can make an exception for Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad.