The last gait

It was one of those memorable moments cloaked not in glory but shrouded in tears.

Aussie Jane Saville was on the home stretch, about to descend into Olympic Stadium and claim a gold medal in front of a rapturous home crowd. She had a comfortable lead, no athlete was going to deny her the ultimate glory.

But in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in Australian Olympic history a race official produced the dreaded red card and disqualified Saville for a third ‘gait’ infringement.


In that instant Saville’s world came crumbling down and she burst immediately into tears, throwing her arms in the air in dismay, collapsing to the ground in a heap.

When she was asked by reporters what she needed she replied, “A gun to shoot myself”.

She went someway to making up for that horror by winning gold at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and bronze at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 but the image from Sydney will remain with Aussie fans for a long time to come.