Medal mix-up: French official gives gold to US skater instead of Russian winner (VIDEO)
The women’s award ceremony at the figure skating Gran Prix in France descended into a comedy show, after a local official mistakenly gave the gold medal to a US skater instead of the Russian winner.
Alena Kostornaia, 16, who won her first-ever senior Grand Prix in Grenoble, burst into laughter after discovering that her medal had been awarded to American counterpart Mariah Bell, who finished third.
The awkward confusion was caused by Christophe Ferrari, the president of the Grenoble metropolitan area, who was invited to award medals on Saturday.
Ferrari, who apparently didn’t have enough experience of presenting medals to professional athletes, hung the gold around the neck of the third-place finisher.
Bell laughed off the hilarious moment, handing the medal to its rightful holder – Kostornaia, who accepted the award with a broad smile.
All three medalists couldn’t stop laughing during the ceremony, which violated the usually strict official protocol.
Kostornaia took a confident win in France, landing two triple axels in her free program and outscoring her teammate, reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, by almost 20 points. Bell finished third, losing four points to Zagitova.