Langely McNeal was disqualified from the X games female skier cross yesterday. She was disqualified due to a clothing violation that she initially felt was a result of the Sarah Burke tribute armband she was wearing. She was also wearing a hair tie around her right boot. Straps on clothing could potentially reduce drag and give a racer an unfair aerodynamic advantage.
“It had nothing to do with the Sarah banner. It had to do with straps she had on both legs around her boots. I can quote from the rules: ‘No straps or fastening devices or other methods can be used to tighten the suit material closer to the body,’ ” Stiepock said. “We certainly feel bad, but this has nothing to do with the Sarah banner. We have allowed all the athletes to wear those banners without stopping really anybody. This had to do with the fastening devices around her pant legs.” – Chris Stiepock, vice president of X Games events
At this point, Langely understands her disqualification and has accepted it.
“X Games and ESPN made an amazing tribute to SB [Sarah Burke] all week. My disqualification was not about the band but about a hair tie around my boot. I broke the rules and for that I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware there was clothing violations at the X Games. My Fault. My Bad.” – Langely McNeal facebook page
Her initial tone, when she thought this disqualification was bout the Sarah armband, was different.
“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. 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 McNeal facebook page
French officials complained that a “strap” around her right boot was a violation of X games regulation and that Langely should be disqualified. The X games officials reviewed the “strap”, agreed with the French, and disqualified her.
“It’s been a lifelong dream for me to compete in the X Games finals, and for it to be taken from me for something so trivial, it’s just breaking my heart. It’s not like I hit someone with my pole or anything like that. I am so bummed. I’m still stunned. My heart is just breaking right now.” – Langely McNeal
Langely was celebrating in the finish corral after qualifying for the Finals when she was informed of the disqualification.
“At first I thought it was a joke. I was laughing. It was really poorly handled by the X Games. And a pretty low blow by the French.” – Langely McNeal
After Langely was disqualified, french skier Marielle Berger moved on to the finals and finished in 4th place.
Langely felt the disqualification was bizarre while Chris Stiepock, the vice president of X games events, feels that Langely’s complaint was bizarre. Reportedly, the X games called McNeal on Sunday night to apologize for the situation. Chris Stiepock was not apologetic.
“Considering all that we have done to honor Sarah here, (McNeal’s) claim seems odd. Considering how many other athletes are wearing this banner, it just seems odd.” – Chris Stiepock
“They [the French] lodged the complaint before they left the finish corral, which is what they are supposed to do. Regardless of who lodged the complaint, it was a legitimate one, and we felt that a disqualification was warranted. Like I said, it’s unfortunate, but we gotta follow the rules.” – Chris Stiepock
Langely McNeal Info:
– From Sun Valley, Idaho
– Member of US Ski Cross World Cup Team
– 3 time X game competitor
– Top American female finisher for 2009/10 World Cup season.
– Also a freeskier competing in big mountain comps
– Daughter of ski patroller