London Spy

Sweden appealing against triathlon photo finish

London 2012 women's triathlon photo finish (AP)Sweden are appealing against the extraordinary photo finish in the women's triathlon which saw Switzerland's Nicola Spirig handed gold and Swede Lisa Norden silver.

After swimming 1.5km, cycling 43km and running 10km the two athletes broke through the finish line tape at the exact same moment and recorded the same time in the race last Saturday.

But triathlon officials decided that Spirig had edged it, and she was given the gold.

The photo finish initially seemed to show that the decision was correct, but on close inspection it seems inconclusive. The International Triathlon Union rejected the Swedish appeal earlier this week, however, but now a special panel from the Court for Arbitration for Sport will hear the case.

The Swedes are claiming that the photo was simply too close to call and are insisting that both Norden and Spirig be given a gold.

"The ITU did not comply with its own rules (and) may not have taken into account the position of the athletes' torsos when establishing the medal positions," the Swedish Olympic team said in a statement.

"It is not possible to distinguish precisely on the photo-finish the position of Spirig's torso, which is slightly back from her belly and which is hidden by the torso of the Swedish athlete."

Studying the picture, it's hard to disagree. It does indeed seem more or less impossible to say, definitively, who won the race, and it seems invidious to try and split two athletes after one hour 59 minutes and 48 seconds of gruelling hard work.

The CAS - which is sport's final deciding body for disputes - will issue their decision by midday on Saturday.

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