(KMGH/CNN) — An Ironman athlete who has trained about 15-20 hours a week for the last six months in hopes of competing in the Ironman World Championship in Kona has been disqualified — for Chapstick use.
Denver triathlete Matt Smith qualified for what he calls “the Holy Grail” of contests when he competed at this past weekend’s Ironman in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“I finished second for the 40-44 age group, in the top 10 amateur men,” he said.
But you’ll have to take his word for it, because his overall rank now is “DQ” for disqualified.
“When they originally told me at first, like going through my head is a very long list of words that would probably make a sailor blush.”
But why was Smith out of the results and now out of the Kona world championship?
“The ref had actually asked, ‘Did you accept something on the course?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I accepted a Chapstick from my wife.”
It’s spelled out pretty well in the 2016 Ironman competition rules: “complete without receiving assistance from other parties.”
“Just out of principle, I’ve always said I will never argue with a ref’s decision on a course,” said Smith, “so I chose not to argue with her and accepted gracefully.”
And he’s actually practicing what he preaches — he coaches triathletes and makes them sign an agreement with this caveat: “Arguing with a race official, volunteer or another athlete will terminate the coaching relationship immediately with no refund.”
When asked “How do you not say, ‘It was Chapstick, that’s ridiculous’?,” Smith responded “I would say it was hard to accept. I believe who you are on the course is much more important than the results.”