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The best of finish-line face plants

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you smash your face off the ground as you cross the finish line

Imagine you’ve just run the race of your life. You’re elated, you can’t believe it and as you approach the finish line, you’re trying to take it all in and savour the moment. And then you trip and fall flat on your face. The good news is that you still won the race. The bad news? You face planted in the age of cellphones and Twitter, so your finish line wipeout will live on forever. Here are some of the very best (or worst) finish line face plants.

Jimmy Gressier—2018 Euro XC Champs 

France’s Jimmy Gressier won the 2017 U23 European cross-country title, and at the 2018 event in the Netherlands, he repeated as champion. He won by a sizeable gap, and he had plenty of time to grab a couple of French flags and celebrate as he ran down the finishing straight. Then, he tripped and broke the tape with his face. Hey, at least he won.

RELATED: VIDEO: Faceplant highlights from Euro XC champs

Shaunae Miller—Rio 400m final 

In the 400m final at the 2016 Olympics, Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas was in the lead with under 100m to go. Then, with about 50m remaining, Allyson Felix of the U.S. drew even with her. As they raced to the line, it looked like Felix would take the win, but then Miller dived in a last-ditch effort for gold. She finished just ahead of Felix and face planted pretty hard when she landed. She won an Olympic gold medal, so it was probably worth it.

Atlanta Braves Fan—June 2017

In 2017, the Atlanta Braves of the MLB introduced a competition held between innings at home games. Fans raced a character known as The Freeze from one end of the outfield to the other. The Freeze’s real name is Nigel Talton, an American sprinter who boasts a 10.47 100m PB. Fans were given a 200-foot head start, but Talton almost always won. In the above video, a fan gets overconfident, and he begins to celebrate with only a few metres to go. That’s when Talton passes him for the win. The fan was so surprised by Talton’s sudden appearance that he fell flat on his face in front of 41,000 fans.

RELATED: VIDEO: Broadcaster calls this race the “greatest thing” he’s ever seen

Phil HealyIrish Universities Track and Field Championships

Skip ahead to the three-minute mark in the above video. Phil Healy starts the last leg of this 4x400m relay in fifth place, so far back that she’s hardly on camera until the final 150 metres. The announcer says she comes “from the depths of hell” to win the race in a thrilling sprint finish that sees her face plant hard after she crosses the line, exhausted.

Lucia Stafford—2019 U Sports Championships 

Lucia Stafford capped off an incredible 2019 cross-country season in Kingston last fall when she won U Sports individual gold. She crossed the line, threw her arms in the air and then tripped on a timing mat and wiped out. Luckily, she was OK, and she joked about the fall later on Instagram, writing “I’m glad the rest of the course wasn’t as rough as the finish line.”