Ireland’s Thomas Barr ran the race of his life, just missing out on an Olympic medal in Rio today finishing fourth in the 400m hurdles final at the Olympic Stadium.
But the Waterford native was still beaming after the Olympic final, where he was just five hundredths of a second outside the podium places, as his storming finish just came up short.
Barr’s Olympic final run broke the Irish record and his own personal best, finishing in a time of 47.97secs.
Kerron Clement took gold for the USA with Boniface Mucheru Tumuti taking silver for Kenya, while Turkey’s Yasmani Copello was the man who pipped Barr for that final place on the podium.
Starting in lane 4, as a result of his semi-final victory, Barr had Clement in his sights from the gun as the gold medal winner started outside the Irishman in lane 5.
But Clement and the other three athletes on the outside lanes moved away from Barr in the opening 200 metres as the Irishman looked to be sticking to his race-plan.
And sure enough, Barr started to make ground as the race hit the final hundred metres, and the Ferrybank athlete began to reel in the leaders in the final 50 metres, but he just ran out of track as he dipped for the line and could not get past Copello to get into those medal places.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Barr after the race. “I’m absolutely delighted to have made it to the final and I’m also delighted to have seen a 47 up on that clock, which I didn’t expect. I expected that it would have to be a 47 to get a medal but I didn’t know if I had it in me.
I’m delighted with how the race went. One or two little spots I definitely could have found that 0.05 or whatever of a second that it was. But maybe it was a step too far this time in my first senior final.
“Fourth is probably the best and worst place to finish outside of a medal.”
Looking back at the race, Barr felt that he came off a couple of hurdles awkwardly and stuttered into one of the later hurdles in a very honest and insightful post-race interview with 400m relay team-mate David Gillick.
“I came off hurdle six or hurdle seven a little bit awkwardly so that probably knocked me back slightly.
“And coming in to hurdle eight, usually I kind of turn on the taps coming off hurdle eight and maybe a little bit into hurdle nine, I tried to open up as quick as I could without hampering my stride pattern.
“I think I stuttered into hurdle nine and a little bit into hurdle ten, so that may have cost me slightly.
“But as I was coming over hurdle ten and I was gaining ground on them, if I had 405 metres you never what could have happened.”