German Speedskater Misses Chance to Race for Medal Because His Phone Was Off

Most people can’t live without their cell phones these days. They are their lifeline to the world. If you were an Olympic athlete, whose events looked to be finished, nobody would blame you for turning off your phone and getting away for a little while.

You just better hope the IOC doesn’t call.

German speedskater Patrick Beckert lost his shot at Olympic glory when he hit the off button on his cell phone, NBCOlympics.com reports. Two-time gold medalist Enrico Fabris of Italy pulled out of the 10,000 meters, and suddenly, there was a spot open. Listed as a substitute for Wednesday’s event, Beckert was next on the the list to compete after three other alternates were unavailable, according to Germany’s Bild.com.

When race officials finally got in touch with Beckert, it was too late. The competition was scheduled to start in just 15 minutes, not enough time to make it to the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Although he missed his shot at immortality in the 10,000 meters, Beckert did appear in the 5,000 meters, finishing 22nd overall.

And the Beckert household was able to celebrate something in Vancouver. Beckert’s sister Stephanie, also a speedskater, didn’t miss any of her races and won silver medals in the 3000 meters and 5000 meters.

Patrick’s probably hoping she doesn’t call to rub it in.