There was an unforeseen hurdle at the World Athletics Championships as a rogue cameraperson wandered onto the track during the final of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, completely unaware that the event was taking place.
In the first lap of the race, the group of runners charged down the track at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon as a camera operator stood in Lane 2 with his back turned to the competitors. The runners had to decide whether to shift left or go right, hopeful that they wouldn’t bump into each other, or the camera person, sparking a dangerous tumble.
The ̶b̶a̶n̶d̶ cameraman is on the track! #WCHOregon22 | #WorldAthleticsChamps pic.twitter.com/rT3GXMfO9f
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 19, 2022
“I was a little worried that he was going to dart one way or another, right at the last second, but thankfully he didn’t realize we were there until we all passed him,” U.S. runner Evan Jager told The New York Times.
Luckily, the steeplechase runners were able to escape harm as they evaded the rogue obstacle while appearing to surprise the camera person as they sprinted around him. The camera operator was standing on the track while filming the women’s triple-jump event which was taking place nearby. But he was completely oblivious to the fact that an event was simultaneously occurring right where he was standing.
Camera operators are always attempting to get the perfect shot by setting up close to the action at sporting events, and hopefully do so without putting their bodies in harm’s way or disrupting the event. We see it in the NFL and NBA all the time, with a cameraperson getting taken out by a professional athlete after standing too close to the sideline. But this camera operator at the World Athletics Championships displayed a new level of negligence.
Fortunately, the blunder didn’t cause any injury, but it did have a negative effect on the runners’ times, with the race being the slowest 3,000-meter steeplechase in the history of the World Athletics Championships.