American skier Langely McNeal (pictured) was disqualified from the finals of the skicross event at the X Games Sunday for wearing an armband honoring Sarah Burke. A disappointed McNeal wrote about the incident on her Facebook page shortly after the disqualification.
"The French team just protested my Sarah Burke band around my thigh and a hair tie around my boot. They disqualified me for the finals. To say I'm heart broken is an understatement...trying to be graceful about the whole thing but it is a hard one to swallow," she wrote.
McNeal indicated that she tried to protest the protest, but her efforts were turned down.
McNeal confirmed to The Denver Post that the French team complained about the band worn around her thigh. She was officially disqualified for having clothing too tight, and the disqualification allowed French racer Marielle Berge to fill her spot in the finals.
"Was pretty pumped to ski in an X Games Final and to have it taken away for a clothing infraction involving a Sarah Burke band and a hair tie around my boot left me in shock," said a message on McNeal's fan page. "Wish it could have been handled differently but I guess that is sports at this level. Thank you everyone for the support and the kind words....I was skiing for you!"
Langely had finished second in her semifinal heat and was planning on celebrating her 28th birthday after the race before receiving the disappointing news.
Burke died two weeks ago and was honored with a tribute video at the X Games on Friday night. Maybe that was all they could handle.
We've seen athletes penalized for tributes in the past and thought it was unnecessary. This seems to be every bit as unjust as all the other ones we've come across.
- Langely McNeal