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Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad stripped of gold after removing shirt

French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was way ahead of the competition in the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase event at the European Athletics Championships, en route to an easy win. So he removed his shirt in the final part of the race. Then he lost his gold medal.

French runner takes off shirt during final bend of steeplechase race

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France celebrates during the final moments of the men's 3,000-metre steeplechase. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was way ahead of the competition in the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase event at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, en route to an easy win on Thursday. 

He couldn’t wait until the finish line to celebrate his victory, so he celebrated in the only way he knew how (at the time): by removing his shirt, and securing it in his teeth while he finished the final portion of the course. 

Spain, doing its best to uphold sportsmanship, filed a formal protest due to strict uniform rules during races. This protest definitely did not have anything to do with the fact that a Spanish runner finished fourth in the race. 

On Friday, Mekhissi-Benabbad lost his gold, which was awarded to teammate Yoann Kowal. The Spanish runner got the bronze. 

Mekhissi-Benabbad is also known as the runner who shoved a 14-year-old female mascot to the ground at a Diamond League event in 2012, and the man who got into a fistfight with a track teammate after a race in 2011. 

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