Gymnastics commentators were stunned on Tuesday during the men's Olympic gymnastics team final when the Ukrainian national team willingly took scores of zero, which ensured a last-place finish.
In the team final, each country sends three athletes to perform on each apparatus - but Ukraine only had two athletes complete the high bar, parallel bars and floor exercise.
Ukraine sent Maksym Semiankiv to the high bar in the middle of the competition - but instead of doing his routine, Semiankiv hung onto the bar for a second, then dropped and nodded to the judges. He took a score of zero, and also scratched in the parallel bars.
Semiankiv didn't appear to be injured, and even if he was, Ukraine could have had another member of its five-man team do a routine in his place.
According to NBC's Andy Thornton, the team planned to throw the competition.
the word we have received is that this was a planned strategy by Ukraine - to not put up all gymnasts in the team final....— Andy Thornton (@AndyThorntonNBC) August 8, 2016
Seeing Ukraine throw away their performances will be especially frustrating for Switzerland, which finished ninth in team qualifying, less than three points behind Ukraine in 7th. Viewers were understandably puzzled.
If this is a strategy from Ukraine it is beyond disrespectful to the Swiss who were 9th after QF, to the sport of gymnastics & the Olympics— Sara (@CarrieUrulz) August 8, 2016
Should Ukraine have withdrawn from the team competition? Let Switzerland in?— Gymnastics Coaching (@GymCoaching) August 8, 2016
@RobGotNext Yeah, I'm looking at what's going on with the Ukraine men's gymnastics team right now. Not a good idea.— Mark C. Worth (@markcworth) August 8, 2016
Some analysts and fans haved speculated that the team is using the competition in order to prepare for the individual finals. Oleg Verniaiev, 2014 world champion in the parallel bars, is set to compete in four different event finals as well as the individual all-around.
The Ukrainian team heartbreakingly lost its bronze medal four years ago in London after Japan's scoring appeal added to Kohei Uchimura's score and vaulted Japan into second, bumping Ukraine off the podium.
After six rotations, Japan took team gold with a score of 274.09, followed by Russia and China.
Ukraine finished eighth of eighth, 69 points behind the next closest team, with a 202.07.