Four years ago Lynsey Sharp was a frustrated spectator as she failed to qualify for the women’s 800m final at London 2012.
It was no surprise then that she was left beaming after crossing the finish line in last night’s Rio 2016 showpiece having run a new personal best time.
Leading into her maiden Olympic Games final, Sharp was showing signs that she was in the form of her life, having consistently run under two minutes this season.
One of those came as she finished second in her semi-final on Thursday in 1:58.65 – but the 26-year-old wasn’t done there.
The 800m final went as many had expected with South African Caster Semenya winning in 1:55.28, just two seconds shy of the world record.
But Sharp too was showing plenty of speed and she came home sixth in 1:57.69 for a new lifetime best.
And while it wasn’t enough to claim a medal, Sharp insisted she could still hold her head up high.
“I felt like I had to run my own race and I sat off the pace because I knew that my best chance was to come through strong at the end,” said Sharp. “Those other girls have a strong finish as well!
“It was very competitive and I ran the fastest I have ever ran in an Olympic final.
“I know I can go faster but I am still happy with that.
“The thing I am most happy with this week is to get through the rounds clean. Obviously I had disappointment last year and it is actually harder to make the final than it is to run in the final.
“I am very happy to make the final and do myself justice.”
Semenya led the race from the outset and never looked like letting her lead slip as she came home ahead of runner-up Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and third-place Kenyan Margaret Nyairera Wambui.
It was certainly an Olympic final that lived up to the occasion as six competitors – Sharp included – ran sub 1:58 while no one came home in more than two minutes.
And Sharp insisted she took last night’s battle for medals very much in her stride.
“I have ran against these girls pretty much every week this summer,” she added.
“So it was really nice to chat to Melissa going through the call room which was really nice.
“It didn’t really feel like an Olympic final and I was able to enjoy it.”
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