Sports

Twitter incensed as USA volleyball suffers controversial loss to Canada following challenge reversal


Team USA’s beach volleyball team suffered a controversial loss to Canada in the Round of 16 at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

USA’s pairing of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, ranked third in the world by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), won the first set 24-22. They then gave up a 10-4 lead in the second set, which Canada’s Brandie Wilkerson and Heather Bansley — ranked 16th — ultimately won 21-18. That sent the match to the fateful third set, with the winning team needing only 15 points to advance.

Claes and Sponcil trailed Canada 12-11 in the final set: A Sponcil serve was initially ruled out on Team USA by officials, giving Canada a 13-11 lead. But Team USA challenged the ruling, prompting a reversal of the call and giving the United States the game-tying point at 12-all. Below is the review in question:

MORE: How many gold medals does USA have? Complete list of 2021 Olympic medalists so far from United States

The issue came after the reversal, however: Canada’s team approached the official and challenged their ruling, brought on by Team USA’s prior challenge. After a pause, the official reversed the call awarding Team USA the point, giving Canada the 13-11 lead.

According to a report by Chris Marlowe of NBC Olympics, the official called the ball out on Team USA’s challenge, but simply the wrong button:

Sponcil argued with the official for several moments before receiving a yellow card, prompting Team USA to return to play. That ultimately was the turning point in the match, as Canada finished with a 15-13 win in the final set.

The entire sequence — which wasn’t explained until well after the fact — left Twitter confused and incensed, as users attempted to make sense of what happened:


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