An Iranian swimmer pulled out of the Olympic Games men's 100m breaststroke heats on Saturday, just minutes before he was due to compete against an Israeli rival.
Mohammad Alirezaei's lane one was empty when the field left the starting blocks while Israel's Tom Beeri, starting in lane seven, finished fourth.
Nothing new here, let's read on:
During the 2004 Athens Olympics, Iran's judo world champion Arash Miresmaeili, one of the country's prominent gold medal hopes, refused to compete against Ehud Vaks of Israel in the first round out of solidarity for the Palestinian cause.
Miresmaeili, twice a winner of the flyweight world title, still received a 5,000-dollar award the Iranian National Olympic Committee had promised to medal winners and he was hailed by former President Mohammad Khatami for his stance.
Now, the question becomes this:
Did the Iranian athlete pull out because of his deep sincere belief in the Palestinian cause or was he merely afraid to place behind the Israeli athlete, knowing the retribution he would face when he returned home?