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Bloody epic! Dane Bird-Smith outdoes his dad in Rio 2016 Olympics walk

Australia has become a power in Olympic race walking in recent years and Jared Tallent will defend his title in the 50km event next week.

By: Reuters | Rio De Janiero |
August 13, 2016 5:36:29 am
Rio 2016 Olympics, Rio 2016 Olympics news, Rio 2016 Olympics updates, Dane Bird-Smith, Dane Bird-Smith Australia, sports news, sports Dane Bird-Smith needed a huge effort to finish third. (Source: Reuters)

Australian Dane Bird-Smith achieved at his first Olympics on Friday what his father failed to do in two when he strolled away with a surprise bronze medal in the 20 km walk at the Rio Games.

His father, David Smith, took part in the event at both the Moscow and Los Angeles Games and was on hand at the hydration station to see his son win a first Olympic medal for the family.

“Bloody epic, eh?” the ecstatic Bird-Smith said right after crossing the line. “I mean, I went into this and I knew I was in such good shape, so I just had to pull it all together.

“I just looked at my watch. I done a bloody PB as well. I just can’t believe it. Totally unreal right now. Oh, I’m stoked man.

“My dad’s had some cracks at it, and this is my first one down, so I just can’t wait to see him.”

Bird-Smith needed a huge effort to finish third behind China’s Wang Zhen and Cai Zelin, holding off Brazilian Caio Bonfim over the last circuit of the Pontal road track to finish in 1:19.37, the first time he had clocked under 80 minutes.

The 24-year-old said he had been determined to stay with the favoured Chinese duo when they hit the front in the closing stages of the race.

“I was watching the Chinese boys,” he added. “I wasn’t going to let the buggers slip away. Not without a fight.

“They went off like absolute rockets. I reeled them in and you know I was only a couple of seconds behind the whole way and I maintained that gap.”

Australia has become a power in Olympic race walking in recent years and Jared Tallent will defend his title in the 50km event next week.

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