Triathlete Spirig wins in close finish
Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig won the closest Olympic women’s triathlon in history yesterday, pipping Sweden’s Lisa Norden for gold after a dramatic photo finish.
Spirig and Norden were neck-to-neck as they hit the finishing tape in 1hr 59min 48sec after a desperate sprint to the line following a gruelling 1.5km swim, 43km bike ride and 10km run around the picturesque Hyde Park course.
Australia’s Erin Densham, just two-hundredths of a second behind, took bronze. British favourite Helen Jenkins dropped off the pace in the final lap and finished fifth, with America’s Sarah Groff fourth.
Olympic triathlons have previously been decided by tiny margins, but none quite matches Spirig and Norden’s despairing lunge as they collapsed over the line.
Spirig, 30, had a nervous wait before she was confirmed as Switzerland’s second Olympic triathlon champion, after Brigitte McMahon’s win – by two-hundredths of a second – at Sydney 2000.
“Crossing the finish line, I had a feeling that I won but I wasn’t really sure so I really needed an official to tell me and it took a few minutes,” said Spirig.
“As an athlete, this is the highest I can reach – Olympic gold medal is just the dream of almost every athlete. It’s just amazing and it still hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m a bit speechless.”