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WATCH: Spanish race walker celebrates too early, misses out on bronze medal

Note to self: finish strong and celebrate after

spanish race walker

Celebrating too early is a tale as old as time, epitomized by the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Yet, athletes continue to fall victim to this mistake. The latest example is Laura Garcia-Caro of Spain, who thought she had secured the bronze medal in the 20km race walk at the 2024 European Championships in Rome, only to be overtaken at the last second.

Garcia-Caro grabbed her flag and pumped her fists in glory in the last 50 metres, believing the bronze medal was hers. However, Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Olyanovska surged past her on the outside at the finish, snatching the bronze from Garcia-Caro’s grasp. This would have been Garcia-Caro’s first career medal at a European Championship. Her speechless expression at the finish line said it all.

“Today is a happy day for me, winning this bronze medal,” Olyanovska said after the race. “I did not expect this.”

The 20km race was won by the reigning Olympic champion, Italy’s own Antonella Palmisano. Crossing the line in second was Palmisano’s teammate Valentina Trapletti, who took silver with a time of 1:28:37.

The 2024 European Championships in Rome will be a trial event for many Olympic-bound athletes preparing for Paris 2024 this August. Big European stars like Femke Bol, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, and Marcell Jacobs, among others, will be competing from June 7 to 12.

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