Unprecedented Hungarian success and another phenomenal gold at the European Aquatics Championships
24.hu celebrates Kristóf Rasovszky, open water swimmer as he won a gold medal on the last day of the 2018 European Aquatics Championship. Rasovszky was not broken by the dubious decision after his 10 km race and finished the tournament with two gold medals and with a could-have-been-gold silver one.
The young swimmer has written history last weekend, because he won both the 5 km and 25 km open water swimming in Glasgow and got a medal in 10 km as well.
Rasovszky is the first swimmer in history to win a medal in all three individual open water events.
The longest race
Kristóf Rasovszky first won the 5 km race, then finished (barely) second at 10 km. Finally, on the last day of the Championship he competed on 25 km as well. This length is so draining that most swimmers only attempt it once or twice during their career. This had been the third time that Rasovszky competed in the event, and the second that he could finish – for last year at the World Championship he was kicked and therefore forced to give up.
Although this time nobody kicked him, he was understandably exhausted. “In the first half of the last lap I tried to do everything on my own, I knew and I felt that I must push it, because everyone else is incredibly strong” shares Rasovszky his experience. “So I tried a shorter sprint at the end, as I did before.
When I got ahead of them I had the feeling that I might win this.
I was really focused on reaching forward at the finish line just in case we would have a photo-finish again, but thank God it was not necessary.”
The photo-finish incident
Why did Rasovszky worry about the photo-finish? Well, it is related to his silver medal which almost turned gold. At the 10 km event, the Olympic, World and European Champion Ferry Weertman managed to catch up to Rasovszky, and they ended up with the same finishing time. After checking the photo-finish Weertman got the first place and the Hungarian swimmer the second. However, the Hungarian Swimming Association appealed for a change, asking to announce a tie. Last week we were still crossing our fingers for Rasovszky to get his well-deserved gold. Unfortunately, this did not happen. With his one gold and one silver medal, he was already the most successful open water swimmer in Hungary, but the 25 km race was still ahead of him.
Making up for the silver
Luckily, Rasovszky did not get disheartened by the unsuccessful appeal and ended up writing history with his 25 km victory. Nevertheless, he confessed to thinking about finishing the race already at 12 and a half kilometres. “I could not fell my knees, and my right should hurt” he tells the reporters. “I tried to set a good pace for myself because I knew that the minute I start to slow down, I will be in trouble. I had to push. Otherwise I would have quit somewhere around 18 kilometres.”
Proving exemplary mental and physical strength he not only made it, but finished first, this time without any doubt, setting an unprecedented record. It is interesting that it was also the first year that a women could get a medal in all three events, the Dutch Sharon van Rouwendaal also won two gold medals (5 km and 10 km), and finished second on 25 km.
With this exhilarating gold medal, Hungary ranks 4th on final overall medal table of the Championship.
I believe this a great year for young Hungarian swimmers, gymnasts, e-athletes, and the list could go on – just check out our latest sport news.
Congratulations to Kristóf Rasovszky and best of luck to all our wonderful athletes.
Featured image: MTI/EPA/Robert Perry