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Distance runner Patrick Tiernan has left Australia in awe after refusing to quit despite a scary collapse in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday night.
Tiernan collapsed to the track in exhaustion on the final lap of the gruelling race in Tokyo, before picking himself up to struggle across the line.
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The 10,000m Australian record holder had bravely stayed with the leading group for the vast majority of the race.
And with a single lap to go, the 26-year-old looked to be well placed for a top-10 finish.
However he hit the wall in confronting scenes, collapsing on the final straight on a humid evening.
But in extraordinary scenes that have captivated the nation, Tiernan picked himself up and struggled across the finish line on wobbly legs.
Tiernan received medical attention after the race and had to be taken out of the stadium in a wheelchair.
"It's the Olympics and I've been waiting for five years for it," Tiernan said after being given the all-clear.
"It was about 180 to go that I collapsed the first time. You don't stop when you've got 180 metres to go.
"I didn't think I was completely done at that point, so I got up.
"It happened again and I knew I was in trouble. I was so close that you have to will yourself across the line and finish that race.
"I knew it was something I could do and also needed to do."
Australia erupts over Patrick Tiernan's heroic display
Tiernan was hailed as a hero by Aussie fans back home on social media after completing the race in 19th place in a season's best time of 28 minutes 35.06 seconds.
"It's not the sort of publicity I want and I was hoping I'd be getting after this race," he conceded.
"It doesn't feel anything heroic to me.
"I just fell a little short of where I wanted to be and haven't had a chance to process any of that.
"I'll decompress over the next couple of days, but I'm glad it's struck a chord with a few people."
Tiernan is also entered in the 5000m, with heats taking place on Tuesday.
Ethiopia's Selemon Barega was a surprise winner in 27:43.22, with the minor medals going to world record holder Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda and his countryman Jacob Kiplimo.
How gutsy was that from Patrick Tiernan? The Australian hung tough with the leaders of the 10,000m before coming unstuck over the final lap - collapsing in the home straight before picking himself up and willing himself across the line. Determination personified. #TokyoTogether pic.twitter.com/Q5TFv5QUiq
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) July 30, 2021
Damn Patrick Tiernan gave absolutely everything. What a brave run in that humidity
— Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) July 30, 2021
Patrick Tiernan showing so much heart then. Well done mate, proud. #Olympics2020
— Adam Tomlinson (@adamtomlinson20) July 30, 2021
Patrick Tiernan provided us with a moment that will stay with us forever
Hope he is ok - reports he is talking, rehydrating, and we wish him a speedy recovery @7olympics
— Jason Richardson (@JaseRicho) July 30, 2021
Oh my.. heartbreaking to see Patrick TIERNAN struggle on the final 100m, and fall - but damn, he kept with them for 9500m, he really did.. Well done to him... and to the Japanese running who sprinted to the line, despite being a lap down.. passion, commitment...
— Trevor Long (@trevorlong) July 30, 2021
In case you missed it, Patrick Tiernan of Australia collapsed in the 10,000m with about 50m to go, got up and finished anyway. Hero. That is what the Olympics is all about. #Olympics
— Kate Carter (@katehelencarter) July 30, 2021
Hard to watch Patrick Tiernan collapse in the 10k but what a gusty, stirring effort to get up and finish. Wonderful.
— Nathan Templeton (@nathantemp7) July 30, 2021
Never been prouder to be an Aussie. I just watched my favourite moment of the games. Patrick tiernan competing in the 10k final just put in one of the all time efforts and I recommend all Aussies to watch the end of the race. #aus @AUSOlympicTeam @7olympics
— Jonathon Lance (@jonno_lance) July 30, 2021
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