Harting leaves it late to keep men’s discus title in the family
Germany’s Christoph Harting hurled the discus 68.37 metres with his last throw of the final to dramatically snatch the Olympic title from Poland’s Piotr Malachowski and keep it safely in the family.
It was the first time in Olympic history that two brothers have won the same individual athletics event. Harting's older sibling Robert – six years his senior – won the gold medal in London four years earlier, but failed to get through qualifying after suffering a back injury, after trying to turn off a light with his foot.
That appeared to clear the way for the year's in-form thrower Malachowski, and the big Pole did not disappoint, producing long throws on his first three attempts. Each one would have been good enough for gold until Harting's final attempt.
Malachowski, who also won silver eight years earlier in Beijing, had a chance to regain the lead and take gold with the very last throw of the competition, but he could not surpass Harting or improve on his earlier effort 67.55. Instead he had to settle for silver, ahead of another German Daniel Jasinski (67.05), who took the bronze.
Standing on top of the podium, an ecstatic Harting accepted his gold medal with a theatrical bow. However, he insisted afterwards that, this was an uncharacteristic bit of showmanship. “I am not a PR person. I don't like to answer questions and I do not look for publicity. I like the stadium and this is my scene. Everything else I leave to other people.”
Malachowski was obviously disappointed to see the gold slip from his grasp at the end, but acknowledged that such twists were par for the course in a sport decided on fine margins. “In discus throw at this level, you can just make a little side step. Details matter. You can put your feet just a little bit differently and it can add two or three metres. [Harting] did something smoother and that's why he got a few extra metres.”
Olympic debutant Jasinski was delighted to make his first major podium. “I'm so happy. We trained really good this year. At the Olympics everything is possible. It was awesome.”