The German Olympic Sports Confederation on Thursday announced it was sending home a cycling coach who was heard in footage repeatedly using a racial slur to refer to African athletes during a cycling event.
According to The Hill, the sporting director of the German Cycling Federation, Patrick Moster, used the racial slur while he was trying to motivate a rider on the German team who was partaking in a time trial. The rider, Nikias Arndt, was behind Eritrea’s Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Algeria’s Azzedine Lagab in the trials when Moster was heard repeatedly urging him to “get the camel drivers.”
The coach rendered an apology in the aftermath of the incident.
“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,” Moster told German news outlet DPA. “I am extremely sorry and can only offer my sincere apologies. I didn’t want to offend anyone.”
Although the confederation’s president, Alfons Hörmann, said they remain “convinced” Moster’s apology is “sincere”, he said the coach’s comments “violated the Olympic values.” “Fair play, respect and tolerance are non-negotiable,” Hörmann added.
Responding to Moster’s comments in a statement, Arndt also said he was “appalled” by what the coach had said, adding that “such words are not acceptable,” Deutsche Welle reported.
“The Olympics and cycling stand for tolerance, respect and fairness,” the cyclist continued. “I represent these values 100% and take my hat off to all the great athletes who have come from all over the world here in Tokyo.”
Florian Nass, a commentator who heard Moster’s comments during the trials, also condemned his choice of words. “If I’ve really understood what he was shouting, that was totally wrong,” Nass said. “Words fail me. Something like that has no place in sport.”
Meanwhile, Algeria’s Azzedine Lagab responded to Moster’s comments on Thursday, saying he has been subjected to “more aggressive racist comments.” Nevertheless, he said “it’s such a shame it happens in the Olympics,” NPR reported.
“Well, There is no camel race in #olympics,” Lagab tweeted. “That’s why I came to cycling. At least I was there in #Tokyo2020.”