When Aussie mum Clare Tallent took the lead in the women’s 20km walk, with just over 2 km to the finish line, it seemed she was destined to take home the gold.
However, disaster struck as she was issued her third and final red card from the judges , meaning she was disqualified from the event.
A devastated Tallent broke down, physically exhausted after having walked almost 18kms, but also with the weight of the past few years, evident on her face.
“I really thought it was my day,” said the mother-of-one, who retired following the London Olympics to undergo IVF.
Tallent and husband Jared, an Olympic gold medal-winning racewalker too, welcomed son Harvey last year, and spoke openly of their five-year battle to conceive.
“I wanted to show the world that women that have babies can do anything, they can come back and be competitive,” she told Channel 7. “You don’t have to stop doing what you love because you’ve had a baby.”
But it was what she did next, despite being visibly devastated, that is what people will remember. She picked herself up and was the first to congratulate her young teammate, Jemima Montag, who went on to claim the gold in a photo that truly captures what the games are all about.
“I’m old and kudos to Jemima (Montag), she is a great girl and she is going to carry the flag for many, many more years to come, I just thought it was my day.”