Asia

Olympic pole vault penis claim denied by Japan athlete Hiroki Ogita

  • 17 August 2016
  • From the section Asia
Japan's Hiroki Ogita knocks the pole vault bar off in the Men's Pole Vault Qualifying Round in Rio de Janeiro on 13 August 2016. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hiroki Ogita was upset at the media's reporting of and social media's response to the incident

Japanese pole vaulter Hiroki Ogita has described his bewilderment after reports his penis had prevented him from progressing in the Rio Olympics went viral.

A video of the athlete hitting the bar with what looked to some like his penis under his shorts quickly spread online.

His leg had already made contact with the bar but his arm finished the job.

"I never expected the foreign media to take me down like this," the 28-year-old athlete tweeted.

"It's one thing if it was true, but I have to say I'm pretty devastated that they'd go so far to make something up to mock and ridicule me so much."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hiroki Ogita's shirt, loose at the bottom, could have caught the bar, say some observers

One pole vaulting expert told the BBC he thought it was a case of an unfortunate camera angle.

"He had already pressed on the crossbar so much," pole vaulting coach David Yeo said in Singapore.

"The crossbar was bound to dislodge. I think it was just the crumpling of the fabric which happened at the wrong position."

Mr Ogita did clear the bar on his second attempt but as he only managed a height of 5.45m on his final jump, the earlier foul cost him. He finished too far down the field to progress through the qualifying stage.

But his fans rallied round him online, telling him to not to worry and reassuring him that the coverage was not all hostile.

Image copyright @LeviSakaki
Image caption "I live in the States, and the reaction here is positive. Fight on!"

Twitter user @wotarou0019kota tweeted (in Japanese): "Don't stress over it and be positive! I do athletics as well, and sometimes stuff happens. It's awesome enough that you're able to be up there on the world stage, so hold your head up high and keep on jumping!"

Image copyright @ogi1230
Image caption In an attempt to escape the online reaction, Mr Ogita changed his Twitter handle, losing his account's "verified" blue tick in the process

Despite the athlete's dismay, he encouraged his readers to take an active interest in the sport.

"To be honest, it's pretty rough, but I guess I'm in the spotlight so this might be some kind of opportunity. I'll do my best and get the results so that I get the last laugh," he wrote.

"It doesn't matter if you do it for a joke or whatever, I ask you to go and watch an actual game at a stadium for once. I hope you appreciate, even a bit, what a great sport pole vaulting is."

Image copyright @ogi1230
Image caption Once the pain of losing had subsided, he was able to see it slightly differently

He eventually tweeted that he was able to see the funny side: "Watching again, this is pretty funny, if I say so myself. LOL."

Related Topics

More on this story