After winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the European athletics championships in Helsinki you a) let out a scream; b) collapse; or c) shove the slightly-creepy mascot trying to give you something. If you're Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabba, you definitely choose C.
The French runner (yes, we said "French") is seen in a video strolling over to the mascot who is approaching him gingerly and appears to be offering the winner something. That's when Mekhissi-Benabbad slaps that "something" out of the mascot's hand and then proceeds to egnage in a two-armed shove:
According to the YouTube description and the Brisbane Times, what make sit even worse is that the mascot was apparently a 14-year-old girl. While there was no way for Mekhissi0Benabbad to know that, it still doesn't help his case. And it's a case that just one more example of a long history of post-race violence. The Times explains:
It was not the first time that Mekhissi-Benabbad had picked on a mascot. After winning the same race at the 2010 championships in Barcelona, he asked a mascot to kneel in front of him before he pushed it to the ground, according to Le 10 Sport.
In 2011, he was also suspended for 10 months after getting into a fight with fellow French runner, Mehdi Baala, at the finish line of the 1500m race during the Monaco Diamond League games.
In footage of the incident it appeared that Baala struck first with what appeared to be a headbutt but Mekhissi-Benabbad quickly retaliated with a flurry of slaps and near-miss punches.
The pair were involved in a brief push-and-shove struggle before stunned officials managed to separate them.
Championship organisers have now registered the latest incident and the Frenchman could face some form of reprimand.