At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Christoph Harting followed in the footsteps of his older brother Robert by becoming the Olympic discus champion. Here the German describes an unforgettable moment of how he absorbed that special memory.
“Shortly after winning Olympic gold in Rio, I moved out of the athletes’ village to the hotel where my family were staying. On the way, they told me the final 150 metres of the journey was very challenging because the ‘hotel’ was actually a little chapel on top of a mountain. When I stood there, on top, I had this amazing view of the whole city of Rio and it got me thinking about this amazing journey I had taken to win Olympic gold.
“After my brother Robert won the discus gold at the London Olympics, I told myself that I can do better, that I am going to be an Olympic champion and throw farther.
“It is not something I ever doubted; if you doubt, you will fail. I like to live by the quote, ‘doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will’. And so I set about in my mission to win Olympic gold.
“It is not easy to train to be an Olympic champion. You have to make many sacrifices. Time with family and friends can be limited. Free time rarely happens. There are very few days without training. My biggest sacrifice was my youth. I started throwing professionally at the age of 17. From then I’ve spent a long time without a holiday or vacation.
“My wife and daughter have been a huge support in my journey. They both respect the time and effort I have put in to become the best and they understand that I must go to training camps and competitions all around the world to achieve that goal.
“I trained long and hard, specifically with the Rio Olympics in mind from the beginning of 2014. My last pre-Rio training camp took place in Portugal and unusually I took my wife with me. I only trained five times that week and I spent a lot of time with her. I enjoyed my time and it helped to relax me and put me in a good frame of mind ahead of Rio.
“Many people have asked me how I feel becoming Olympic champion and, to be honest, it is hard to put into words. I did it because it was my special quest. I didn’t do it to become rich and famous or to gain social acceptance and fame. But if you want your name in the history books and to become a better version of yourself, that is what I feel I accomplished in my journey to Rio.
“When I walked up that mountain in Rio and took in this amazing view, my family were with me, of course. We stood there in silence, because we knew nothing would ever be the same again. I took this moment and put it deep in my heart.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF