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European steeplechase winner disqualified for shirtless celebration

French steeplechase winner disqualified for shirtless celebration at European championships

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France won the 3,000-meter steeplechase event at the European track and field championships on Thursday but was eventually disqualified for his homestretch celebration, which included taking off his shirt.

Originally the two-time European champion was given a yellow card, much like a warning in soccer when players peel off their jerseys to show T-shirts with slogans. But Spain's track federation appealed and Mekhissi-Benabbad was disqualified for violating uniform standards, which include not covering up or obscuring the bibs that feature the athlete's number.

The ruling moved Spain's Angel Mullara from fourth to third for the bronze medal. The gold medal went to Mekhissi-Benabbad's teammate, Yoann Kowal, while Krystian Zalewski of Poland received the silver.

It would be an understatement to say Mekhissi-Benabbad, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, is a free spirit. He's had run-ins before on the track and with a teammate.

When Mekhissi-Benabbad won his second European title in 2012 in Helsinki, he pushed a mascot away after knocking a gift bag out of its hands. He also pushed a mascot to the ground after winning the 2010 steeplechase title at the European championships in Barcelona.

Between those incidents, he was suspended for five months by France's track federation after getting into a fight with teammate Mehdi Baala after a 1,500-meter race at an IAAF Diamond League meet in Monaco in 2011.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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