Ollie grabs gold in a race for the agesDoug Conway
Ollie Hoare ran the race of his life to win the 1500m gold medal in Commonwealth Games record time, then dedicated his stirring achievement to his grandfather, who died last week.
The 25-year-old Trinitarian ran down not one but two world champions in the final straight, lunging to victory in the last couple of strides.
It was a finishing burst for the ages, capping one of the great 1500m contests in Games history, and was made all the more remarkable considering Hoare’s grief and his disappointing showing at the recent world championships.
Hoare dedicated the gold to his grandfather, Sergeant Fred Hoare, a WWII veteran, life member of the Sutherland Athletics Club, and a “big inspiration” to his dad Greg as well as himself.
“He always had the same stopwatch; it was about 100 years old and he would trust the timer, he would only go off the stopwatch. My PBs were all on his stopwatch,” he told Channel Seven.
“He was a great lover of the sport, a lover of Herb Elliott, (Steve) Moneghetti, (Robert) de Castella.
“He was the reason my dad loves the sport, the reason why I love the sport.
“After such a disappointing world championships, he passed away at 96.
“It kind of hit me, I hadn’t been home and was unable to attend his funeral two days ago.
“He’s up there having a glass of red wine, and he’d be saying, ‘I knew you could do it mate but unfortunately I wasn’t around to see it’.”
Hoare (Class of 2015) became only the second Australian to win the event after the great Herb Elliott in 1958, slashing two and a half seconds off his personal best in the process.
He edged out 2019 world champion Timothy Cheruiyot from Kenya by nine hundredths of a second, with reigning world champ Jake Wightman from Scotland third.
“I had to be patient and back myself,” said Hoare.
“That last lap, I wanted to make sure I stayed relaxed on the inside and knew my time would come.
“It is hard to believe when you have guys there that are absolute class. I was able to get out and I had the kicker at the end, and, yeah, it was spectacular.”
Veteran commentator Brice McAvaney described it as “just magical”.
“It’s what you dream about. That last 100m was the stuff of legends.
“It’s one of the great 1500m at any event – Olympic, world or Commonwealth Games. We are tingling.”
There was heartbreak, however, for Hoare’s 2015 Trinity schoolmate Rohan Browning earlier in the athletics programme.
Browning, running the anchor leg for Australia in the 4x100m relay heats, stumbled and fell face first into the track without ever receiving the baton at the final changeover.
Australia had been well placed to claim a spot in the final.
The 100m finalist felt “gutted” for his teammates, swallowing his disappointment and fronting up on television to express his apologies.
“I just tripped over; it’s never happened before,” he said.
“I know these boys have put in so much work for this relay and I take sole responsibility for that.
“It was one of those freak things and I’m just gutted by it.”