Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan showed her resilience and kept her eyes on the prize after she emerged victorious in an Olympic middle-distance event despite being involved in a fall during the final lap of the race.
Hassan, who was participating in the women’s 1,500 heat on Monday morning, was wrapping up the last lap when she fell on the tracks after getting into contact with another runner who had tripped and was on the ground.
But that did not deter the Dutch athlete as she got back up and managed to catch up with the other runners before eventually winning the race and making it to the semi-finals. And following her heroics that morning, Hassan made history later that evening when she won gold in the women’s 5,000-meter race. Her victory was the first time a Dutch athlete had won Olympic gold since 1992. Speaking to reporters after her win, Hassan said she couldn’t believe what had happened that day.
“I used all my energy this morning and I was kind of tired. I couldn’t believe what happened. It was terrible when I tripped,” she said, Reuters reported. “I felt terrible afterwards and I never thought I am going to be Olympic champion.”
The 28-year-old also shared caffeine kept her going that day, adding that it played a role in her becoming an Olympic champion despite being exhausted. “It has been an amazing day. When I fell down and had to jump up I felt like I was using so much energy. I couldn’t believe the feelings in my legs. All the energy seemed to leave me,” she said.
“Before the race here I didn’t even care. I was so tired. Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion. I needed all the caffeine. I was so scared I wasn’t going to do it.”
Hassan, who already has a gold medal bagged, wants to make history as the first athlete to win the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters events at the Olympic Games. “For me, it is crucial to follow my heart,” she said in a statement to announce her Olympic triple attempt, NPR reported. “Doing that is far more important than gold medals. That keeps me motivated and it keeps me enjoying this beautiful sport.” Thankfully, Monday’s fall did not get in the way of her ambition.
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