Athlete celebrates early before being overtaken at the finish line and loses the bronze medal

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A race walker was one step ahead of herself before she was embarrassingly put on a leash.

Laura Garcia-Caro thought she was on the verge of winning bronze in the women’s 20km race walk at the European Athletics Championships in Rome. The sun reports.

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She entered the final 400 meters around the track in the stadium with a good lead over third place – so much so that she was presented with a Spanish flag.

So just as she neared the finish line, Garcia-Caro joyfully lifted into the air with a beaming smile and even stuck her tongue out on the brim of her first major athletics medal.

But the 29-year-old had absolutely no idea that Lyudmyla Olyanovska was hot on her heels after closing the gap on the home straight.

And with five meters to go of the 20km race, the Ukrainian managed to get alongside her celebrating rival in dramatic scenes.

Garcia-Caro’s face suddenly changed from pure delight to one of utter horror and dismay as what was unfolding became clear.

Olyanovska had all the momentum and speed and managed to overtake just two meters from the finish.

Garcia-Caro had no time to react and was stunned by the comeback and sheepish at her blunder that left her fourth.

The BBC Sport commentator called the action: “Oh my word, she’s been caught. I can not believe it.

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“I can not believe it.

“No warning, too much noise in the arena, no one could say to her: ‘Be careful, be careful.’

“And she was literally caught two or three steps off the line, in fact, she had started celebrating with her arms in the air.”

Incredibly, both Olyanovska and Garcia-Caro crossed the line after a 20km run in official times of 1:28.48 – 40 seconds behind Italian winner Antonella Palmisano.

But it was clear the Spaniard had been beaten to bronze, saying: “I was very tired in the last round. I tried my best.”

Laura Garcia Caro thought she was about to win a bronze medal. Credit: GettySource: supplied
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Her premature celebrations were cut short by Ukrainian Lyudmyla Olyanovska. Credit: GettySource: Getty Images

Plenty of fans helped with brilliant responses to the chaos.

One said: “Never party too early.”

Another wrote: “Lesson of the day: don’t be stubborn until you actually get the result.”

A third added: “She has the flag and everything!! Silly girl.”

A fourth said: “I absolutely love it when this happens.”

And one end user replied: “And now she’s a meme, what a consolation prize.”

Bronze medalist Olyanovska – who served a four-year doping ban from 2015 to 2019 – said: “Today is a happy day for me to win this bronze medal.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank my mother, my father and all of Ukraine. It is a very emotional moment for me.

“Of course I was tired in the last kilometer and last meters, but I really wanted to win this medal for my country.”

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This article originally appeared on The sun and is reproduced with permission.

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