While most of Australia’s Olympic athletes now find themselves in quarantine, Peter Bol isn’t revelling in the runner's high he achieved at Tokyo 2020. Instead, the track star who captured the hearts of a nation with an inspiring performance in the men’s 800 metres final has taken his athletic prowess to Poland, where he recently won the 800m at a track and field meet.
Less than a fortnight since Bol finished fourth in the men’s 800m final in Tokyo, the star athlete triumphed at the Memorial Wieslawa Maniaka in Szczecin with a time of 1 minute and 45.49 seconds. Poland’s Patryk Dobek, who finished ahead of Bol at the Olympic final to win the bronze medal, placed eighth in the race with a time of 1:47.24. In a post to Twitter, Bol captioned his victory: “Decided to stay hungry post Tokyo.”
Bol made his Olympic debut at the Rio Olympic Games, but it was on the world stage at Tokyo that his class and talent shone through. Since taking to the track, Bol has become a global superstar and here in Australia is every bit the household name. His gutsy performance in the heats at the Olympics saw Bol become the first Australian to reach the Olympic men’s 800m final in 53 years. In the preliminary rounds, he set national records in both heats, with 1:44.13 in the first, and 1:44.11 in the semi-final. His performance in the semi-final saw many credit Bol as being a contender for a medal finish and going into the race, Bol was eyeing victory.
While many struggle with the pressure of the occasion, Bol certainly raced with a maturity beyond his experience. With the top athletes refusing to set the pace, Bol courageously stepped forward and led for much of the race. It was a move that normally sees the frontrunner steamrolled in the final lap, as the key opponents come through with a fast kick in the final 300m. But such wasn’t the case with Bol. Just when you would have expected him to fall back in the field, Bol finished strong. Through grit and perseverance, he finished fourth in the final with a time of 1:45.92.
Australians around the world barracked for Bol, along with the South Sudanese community. He told reporters following the race: “
Following the race, Bol told reporters: “I didn’t know if I was going to win but I knew one thing for certain, that the whole of Australia was watching and that carried me on, so I loved that part about it.” He added, “To Australia, I’m thankful, and to everyone in Australia because we’re just human at the end of the day.”