Over-Celebration Leads to Missed Medal for Spanish Race Walker

26th European Athletics Championships - Rome 2024: Day One

As Spanish race walker Laura Garcia-Caro approached the finish line of the 20 km race at the European Athletics Championship on Friday, she started to celebrate the bronze medal she was set to win.

She raised her fist, stuck out her tongue as if being cheeky, and waved the Spanish flag tucked in her shirt. 

But in the last few meters of the race, the smile on Garcia-Caro’s face turned to shock and dismay as Ukraine’s Lyudmila Olyanovska crossed the finish line before her, winning the bronze medal instead of Garcia-Caro.

“I am quite disappointed. The first part of the race I struggled, but (I did) recover and in the last 10 meters I thought I had it, but I didn’t,” 29-year-old Garcia-Caro told local media, according to . “Now I have to assimilate [what happened] and heal my heart.”

The video of Olyanovska overtaking Garcia-Caro is going viral, with many viewers viewing the moment as a lesson to not celebrate too soon. 

The race, which took place at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, finished with Antonella Palmisano’s gold for the host nation in a time of 1:28:08, her Italian teammate Valentina Trapletti 29 seconds behind in silver, and Olyanovska 11 seconds behind in bronze.

After the race, Olyanovska thanked her country and her family. 

“Of course, I was tired in the last kilometer and last meters, but I wanted to win this medal for my country so much,” she said, per , mentioning . “We train under very difficult conditions, it was very hard preparation but I am very glad I managed to bring a medal home.”