Fizz in a Can

World Cup gold medallist with the can, Kjetil Borch (in the middle), silver medallist Sverre Nielsen (on the left) and bronze medallist Oliver Zeidler (on the right). Photo from Sverre Nielsen’s Instagram account.

2 November 2021

By Göran R Buckhorn

World Rowing, you can keep the gold medal, Sverre Nielsen says.

Yesterday, Norwegian sculling star Kjetil Borch wrote a frustrating post on his Instagram account. One of the things he brought up was how World Rowing had handled a situation at the World Cup in Sabaudia, Italy, when Borch’s gold medal in the single sculls race was taken away from him. In the race Borch won, with Sverri Nielsen of Denmark taking the second place and Oliver Zeidler of Germany the third place. HTBS contacted Borch if we may publish his Instagram post on HTBS. The answer from Kjetil came immediately – Klart det, “Sure”.

Kjetil Borch wrote that the race in Sabaudia was one of the coolest races he had ever raced. “I was in ecstasy!” he wrote. The reason he was disqualified* and fined €2,500 was that he had broken a commercial rule. In his euphoria to have won such a magnificent race, Broch forgot that he was holding a can of Red Bull when he went on the medal podium – it should be mentioned that Red Bull is one of Borch’s sponsors.

Today, reactions are coming in on social media about the Red Bull debacle (and other things mentioned in Borch’s Instagram post, which by now has received close to 5,800 likes. That’s a lot, folks!).

Dane Sverre Nielsen wrote on his Instagram earlier today:

“Think I should comment on the situation from World Cup III [in] Saubaudia. I do believe @kjetilborch didn’t intentionally break world rowing’s commercial rules, therefore I believe the punishment of disqualification is too harsh.

“It was an awesome race and it’s unfortunate that this situation is going to ruin that. If they [World Rowing] want to punish Kjetil for overstepping the commercial rules, they could do that without tainting the integrity of a fair and good race.”

Nielsen continues to say:

@kjetilborch your still the Champ in my eyes 🥇

Ps @worldrowingofficial don’t bother sending me the gold medal.”

In a reply to Nielsen’s post, Kjetil Borch writes:

“Thanks Sverri, that means a lot to me💙🙌 Disqualification or not, it’s still on of the most memorable races I’ve ever races, against athletes I respect the most.”

In an Instagram post by Kiwi photographer Steve MacArthur, he writes under a photo of Borch holding a can of Red Bull while he is flexing his muscles and showing his six pack: “Head over to @kjetilborch page to see how much fizzz there is in a can of @redbull…”

The last words on this have not been written, I’m sure.

*A World Rowing umpire contacted HTBS saying that Kjetil Borch was not technically “disqualified”, he was “relegated”, which means that he was still on the result list of the race, but placed last in the field with no time. Of course this changes nothing for Borch.

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