It may not have been the fairytale finish Australia hoped for, but Peter Bol’s fourth place in Tokyo is still the best result by an Australian in the men’s 800 metres since 1968.
It’s also the highest placed track event finish by an Australian male since Darren Clark was fourth in the 400 metres in Seoul, in 1988 — 33 years ago.
Bol’s family and friends couldn’t be prouder, as they gathered in his family home in Thornlie, south of Perth, to watch history being made.
“We can’t wait for you to get home so we can actually celebrate,” his cousin Nusaiba Adam said after the race.
“I don’t even know what to say. It was very scary [watching the race].
“Peter’s mum [Hanan Kuku] couldn’t even watch, that’s how scared she was. We’re just waiting for the next one, because we know he’s going to get it.”
His cousin Abra said it was an amazing feeling having the whole country supporting Peter.
“It made us all proud to know that everyone was supporting him, so we’re all happy,” he said
“Win or lose, we’re winners regardless of what happened.
“It is incredible. Regardless of the outcome, he already made history, he already made us happy.”
After his race Bol said he was pleased that he gave himself every chance but was disappointed with the closing stages.
“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.”
The support for Bol across social media was widespread, with Olympic canoeing gold medallist Jess Fox leading the way.
“Is Peter Bol a legend or what!!! Omg what a race, had me screaming. So close!!! Gutsy effort,” Fox tweeted.
Her thoughts were echoed by a number of other promiment Australians.