Christoph Harting celebrates his victory in the discus at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
Christoph Harting of Germany won the men’s discus with the competition’s penultimate throw after a thrilling final round which saw the medals swap around several times.
Harting reached a personal best 68.37m to unseat the 2015 world champion Piotr Malachowski and succeed his own older brother Robert as Olympic champion.
His victory marked the first time in Olympic athletics history that one sibling has followed another as a gold medallist in the same event.
Robert, the gold medallist in London four years ago and three-time world champion, stood third on the year’s performance list before the Olympics but fell short of qualifying for the final here in Rio after an injury-riddled 18 months and sat in the stands in the Olympic stadium urging his brother on to keep up family standards.
Poland’s Malachowski put his spin on the final from the first round.
Throwing last in the initial order, Malachowski reached 67.32m on his first throw to put himself in the lead ahead of Daniel Jasinski of Germany whose 65.77m stood as next best.
Malachowski had led the year’s performance list at 68.15m before the Olympics, and was deservedly considered the favourite.
Harting then moved into second in the following round with a 66.34m effort while Jasinski himself improved to 66.08m in the third round. However, Malachowski continued to outreach their efforts with 67.06m in the second round and an improvement to 67.55m in the third round.
The fourth and fifth rounds saw no improvements for the eight men who continued through, but movement started in the last round when Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger improved from eighth to fifth with a 64.95m toss before ultimately finishing sixth.
Kupper starts the medal swapping
Unheralded Martin Kupper of Estonia then vaulted from sixth all the way to second with 66.58m. Jasinski answered with 67.05m, moving back into second place, pushing Harting temporarily out of the medals and guaranteeing himself at least bronze.
Harting then delivered the throw of his life to a tremendous roar from the crowd.
Malachowski had just one chance to respond, but despite Harting himself encouraging the crowd to get behind his rival, he could only get to 65.38m and the Pole had to settle for another silver medal to match the one he won in London four years ago while Jasinski was delighted to get third place with Kupper fourth.
Immediately behind Kupper in fifth with a mark of 65.10m was his comptriot and 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter.
Harting was the only thrower in the final to better his season’s best. He’d finished eighth last summer at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, where Malachowski won.
The medallist were all with a few metres of their best but one man who was a bigger distance away was Belgium’s Philip Milanov, the Beijing silver medallist down in a disappointing ninth place, reaching 62.22m with his only valid throw.
Parker Morse for the IAAF