The clock ticked past three minutes and still there had been no decision. The men’s T64 100m had certainly been close, with the four leading competitors finishing within four hundredths of a second of one another. But who had claimed bronze between the German Johannes Floors and Britain’s Jonnie Peacock?
The rules determine that only in the event of a gap of less than 1,000th of a second would two athletes share a place. When the photo finish was eventually called, that was exactly what happened.
Joint bronze medallist Peacock has relinquished his crown as king of the sprints, with German Felix Streng the new Paralympic champion, finishing in a time of 10.76sec. Costa Rica’s Sherman Isidro Guity Guity, nel frattempo, won a surprise silver in 10.78. For Streng his time was marginally slower than in qualifying, but for Peacock 10.79 (o 10.786 to be precise) was his fastest of the season. The 28-year-old had once again delivered his best performance on the biggest stage.
“If that’s not an advert for Paralympic sport in 11 seconds I don’t know what is,” an ebullient Peacock said afterwards. “I think there’s two ways I take today. I have to do the positive first, glass half full: 15-year-old Jonnie would have been so happy with this.
“These guys have been running some incredible times this year to come and to be competitive against them, to turn my season around the way that I have … to share the bronze medal with Johannes I’m so happy, he’s a great guy. I didn’t think you could share medals in sprints, has this ever happened?"
Records show it happened at the very first Olympics, nel 1896, where Francis Lane of the US and Hungary’s Alajos Szokolyi shared bronze in the 100m. Ci sono molte persone oggi che si lamentano della politicizzazione percepita dello sport, ma politica e sport sono inestricabilmente intrecciati e lo sono stati sin dal loro inizio, in Beijing, there was a tie for silver in the women’s 100m as Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson tied behind Shelly-Ann Fraser in a Jamaica 1-2-2. So it’s certainly not common.
The glass-half-empty side of Peacock’s analysis was that, può essere, he could actually have won. He was in the mix with Streng at 60m, a point in the race at which he would normally expect to kick on.
“If you had taken a picture of the race at 60 and said: ‘Jonnie, that’s where you’re going to be,’ I’d have said: 'Destra, I’m taking the gold medal.’ It’s a lack of experience on my part, I lost it today. My shoulders started going backwards and for me the position has to be shoulders over the hips. I didn’t do that today over the last 20 and my top speed is what let me down.”
Flip the perspective once again, tuttavia, and that tiny but decisive failure in technique is a sign of quite how great a race it was in which Peacock ran. “You make a mistake in the Paralympic final you should be made to pay for it," Egli ha detto.
“I was made to pay because there’s better athletes out there executing better races. Felix has executed races time and time again this year. Consistency has been his thing. That’s what he did today. It’s about consistency. I didn’t execute the best race today, I didn’t deserve to win. Part of me is proud of that, [proud of my] Paralympic sport. I’m biased, but I think that’s one of the best races in the Paralimpiadi."
At this point Streng emerged from the tunnel heading out of the Olympic stadium and grabbed Peacock by the shoulders. “Big man, big man,” he said of the former champion who has done so much to change the profile of the sport that is now racing away in its development.
“I’ll see you in Kobe [at the IPC world championships],” Peacock told the German. “It’ll be fun.”
“I’m not scared,” replied Streng with a laugh.