What an ending in the Men’s 10km Open Water Swimming event! Spyros Gianniotis lost the gold medal by a fingertip and earned the silver medal in the competition. The final placement was decided by a photo finish which lasted 15 minutes after the event. In his 5th Olympic Games, Gianniotis finally earns the Olympic medal he deserves.
Gianniotis got off a slow start and was 23rd after the first 2.5km (1 minute behind the leader). By the 5km mark he was in 22nd and fell even further from the leader (1.5 minute behind). He then started to pick up the pace moving to 14th with 2.5 km remaining. A TREMENDOUS final 2.5km by the Olympic veteran saw him in first place with only 50 meters to go. It seemed that Gianniotis would clearly win the gold medal, however at the finish line Ferry Weertman touched the board (finish line) before Gianniotis. The Greek swimmer was originally named the winner, however after a photo finish review and 15 minute delay, it was confirmed that Weertman from the Netherlands touched the board first. In the end, the two finished tied with same time, but Weertman was awarded the gold medal and Gianniotis was awarded silver.
The 36-year old is the first Greek athlete to win a medal in a swimming event at the Olympics since the first modern games in Athens (1896)! In other words, 120 years ago!
After his silver medal Gianniotis said “In the final meters I said to my self, it is 100 meters…give as much as you cant image. I closed my eyes and I said this is is my final chance, take advantage of it and do the best you can. To be honest I closed my eyes because I was tired and I didnt see the Dutch swimmer coming. We went to the final touch. What is important is that I did what I set my mind to, I gave 110%. The gold medal doesn’t bother me, it would have been nice, but i won an Olympic medal. That was my ultimate goal and my dream since Sydney 2000.”
Gianniotis is a 5-time Olympian and has won multiple World & European Championships. The only medal missing was an Olympic medal. Although he was only a fingertip away from gold, Gianniotis can walk away from Rio 2016 as an Olympic Champion and medalist.
*Image Source: sdna.gr
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