Life’s not fair.
Life’s not fair.

World reacts to agonising Games moment

EIGHTEEN years later and Australia's sporting public has never been able to forget the crushing moment Jane Saville was disqualified at the Sydney Olympics walking into Stadium Australia to collect her gold medal.

It seems certain that in 18 years time we won't be able to forget about the heartbreaking moment Aussie Claire Tallent was disqualified leading the women's 20km race walk with just one lap remaining.

The 36-year-old mum broke down on the streets of the Gold Coast after being flashed with a third strike for lifting both feet off the ground, leading the race with less than 2km to go.

The gold was hers - but, in an instant, ecstasy turned to agony.

Channel 7 cameras showed Tallent, the wife of Aussie champion Jared Tallent, crumble to the side of the road as it sunk in that she was never going to get the golden moment she had worked so hard for, after considering retirement and coming back from the birth of son Harvey just last year.

The heartbreaking footage was incredibly difficult to watch as Claire knelt down with her head in her lap openly sobbing.

Channel 7's commentary team, including Aussie athletics greats Dave Culbert and Tamsyn Lewis, were gutted for Tallent.

COMMENTATORS STUNNED BY LIVE HEARTBREAK

 

Pure class.
Pure class.

CHANNEL 7's live broadcast was turned on its head by the incredible drama that unfolded at the moment of Tallent's disqualification.

"She has been disqualified! She has got the disqualification. Claire Tallent had moved into the lead but has been disqualified," Culbert said.

"That is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for Claire Tallent. She is sobbing tears of devastation.

"She fought back to the front and was 2km from the finish. She got hit by a car two weeks before the national championships, retired, had a conversation with her husband, Jared, back into a winning position and that is heartbreaking."

Lewis said: "That is so hard to watch. That's heartbreaking.

"We all remember Jane Saville in Sydney and there are shadows of that, these Sydney Games. That will take a while to recover from.

"There's just nothing anyone will be able to say to her, Dave.

"Our hearts go out to Claire Tallent. We had the cameras on her husband and baby.

"He's watching on the big screen. He can see it. The walkers know what this is all about. There it is."

When cameras returned to the sight of Tallent still motionless, kneeling on the bitumen, Lewis said: "Here she is. We are devastated for Claire Tallent.

"It's heartbreaking for everyone to see her go out that way. She was starting to feel good and was heading to the finish. It is not what we were after. She looks shattered. We can see how upset she looks. I just hope that Jared can get to her on the course and hand her (their son) Harvey. It is the only thing that will make her feel better.

"That is true. All that she has done to get back. She effectively retired in 2002. I don't think she said that she retired. She did miss the team in 2016 in Rio. Harvey was born in May, 2017. Jared has sacrificed a lot of what he has done. He was injured.

"He turned his full attention to supporting Claire Tallent to help get the Games gold medal that he has achieved. She got the silver medal in 2010. I don't think we will see her in Tokyo (for the 2020 Olympics), but anything is possible. She would be 38.

"You can't watch it without getting incredibly upset for her. It's just devastating footage. She is a young mum, so I think that is a good thing, because she will be able to go home and realise there is more to life."

TALLENT DELIVERS GUT-WRENCHING INTERVIEW

The tears kept flowing.
The tears kept flowing.

CLAIRE Tallent delivered the most brutal interview of the Games so far when she spoke to Channel 7, just minutes after being disqualified in crushing circumstances.

Here's how the extraordinary interview unfolded with Seven's Pat Welsh as she fought back tears.

Pat Welsh: Claire Tallent, this is gut-wrenching. We feel for you.

Claire Tallent: Yes, last time I saw you, Jared was leading the 50km walk in Rio. I sent Jared texts last night, saying that I am feeling something today. I really thought it was my day. I thought I did the race perfectly, and I thought I had to make a move earlier rather than later, and I seemed to pick up two red cards when that happened, and then I sat back and just let the race unfold and I was cheering the crowd on, because I felt so fresh, fresh as a daisy.

PW: Yes, we couldn't believe it when we heard the call.

CT: I don't know. I didn't even seem to get cautions. It was such a big effort for us to have a family, and I'm so thrilled with my little boy, and I wanted to show the world that, you know, women who have babies can do anything. They can come back. You don't have to stop doing what you love because you're having a baby. You know, I am old but all credit to Jemima (Montag, the eventual winner), she is a great girl and she will carry the flag for many more years to come, but I just thought it was my day. That's all.

Dave Culbert said after the interview: "Those pictures show just how much we care as athletes. Anyway, there is more great sport still to come. The Campbell sisters are coming up. It was tears for despair for Claire, but tears of joy for Jemima Montag."

TALLENT COULD HAVE PLAYED IT SAFE

 

TAMSYN Lewis told Channel 7 Tallent could have changed tactics to aim for the silver medal after being handed two strikes earlier in the race.

Leading fellow Aussie Jemima Montag and comfortably clear of the third-placed competitor, Lewis said Tallent would have thought about easing off her stride to avoid a third strike.

"Coming up for one lap to go. There is always risk against reward in the walk," Lewis said.

"Claire Tallent could have raced conservatively for the silver medal because she was well in front of Alana Barber from New Zealand and she could have taken it easy to get the silver medal but she already had a silver medal."

ULTIMATE MOMENT OF SPORTSMANSHIP

 

OVERLOOKED in her moment of shattered hope, Claire Tallent delivered a moment of pure sportsmanship to cheer on fellow Aussie Jemima Montag in her push for gold.

With her emotions still out of control, Tallent stood up and cheered on Montag as she raced past her on the final lap.

"Look at this. A bit of a shot. She is cheering her teammate onto the gold medal, Jemima Montag," Seven's Dave Culbert said.

"She will know how upset Claire Tallent would have been," Tamsyn Lewis added. "That is amazing sportsmanship that we have just witnessed."

TWITTER REACTS TO TALLENT DISQUALIFICATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tallent didn’t want to ease off.
Tallent didn’t want to ease off.
The soul destroying moment.
The soul destroying moment.


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