Bird-Smith wins gold in 20km walk
Posted on 04/25/20 7:45 PM
Dane Bird-Smith makes his signature hand gesture as he wins gold in the 20km Race Walk.n Dane Bird-Smith crossed his wrists in his signature ‘Birdman’ victory gesture after holding off a mighty challenge from Englishman Tom Bosworth in the men’s 20km walk at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The pair had slugged it out shoulder to shoulder for much of Sunday’s race, with Bird-Smith making the the winning break in the final few hundred metres, willed on by a loud and parochial crowd on the beachside course at Currumbin.
The 25-year-old Bird-Smith – who was third in the same event at the 2016 Rio Olympics – won in a Games record time of one hour 19 minutes and 34 seconds.
Bosworth was four seconds adrift in second place and Samuel Gathimba from Kenya was third.
“That was a seriously exciting race,” said Bird-Smith.
“In the last three Ks, and I think even he knew it, that neither of us was going to drop the other.
“It was going to come down to the sprint finish and it was basically going to come down to whoever could get that line off the last turn and push really hard into that final stretch.
“I don’t know if it’s an unfair advantage but definitely having that crowd was a huge, huge plus for me.”
Bird-Smith extended ‘s winning streak in the men’s 20km walk at Commonwealth level to 24 years.
“There’s so much pressure from ,” he said.
“Everyone just says nonchalantly ‘go for gold’, ‘bring home the gold’ and stuff and it’s so much tougher than that.
“I make it look easy on the day although it’s unbelievably hard.”
Fellow ns Michael Hosking and Rhydian Crowley were 10th and 11th respectively.
Bird-Smith said he felt extra pressure to perform in the opening event of the track and field program after Sally Pearson was forced out of the Games with an Achilles injury, depriving the host nation of a near-certain gold medal in the 100m hurdles.
“One of the heads of our athletics team was put on the sidelines and that’s absolutely devastating for her,” he said.
“I really wanted to be able to lift and do it for her as well.”