Estonians in Rio, Day 16: Marathon runners cross Games' final finish line, Rio Olympics draw to close (2)
On Sunday, Aug. 21, Estonian marathoners Roman Fosti and Tiidrek Nurme crossed the Estonian delegation's final finish line of the 2016 Summer Olympics, placing 61st and 63rd overall, before Estonia's 47 athletes joined all the other countries' Olympians in the traditional Parade of Athletes at the Rio Games' closing ceremony.
Marathon runners Roman Fosti and Tiidrek Nurme were the final Estonian Olympians to compete in the Rio Games, placing 61st and 63rd, respectively, overall.
The men's marathon gold went to Kenyan Eliu Kipchoge, with a time of 2:08:44, while silver went to Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa, finishing with a time of 2:09:54, and bronze to American Galen Rupp, who finished with a personal record time of 2:10:05.
Fosti, who collapsed shortly after crossing the finish line, finished with a time of 2:19:26, while Nurme followed just over half a minute later with a time of 2:20:01.
Speaking in an interview with ERR following the race, Fosti explained that the first ten kilometers of the marathon went easily, while five kilometers later things began to get more difficult for him, and so the 42-kilometer marathon intermittently went.
"During the final kilometer I felt that my legs wouldn't hold up anymore, but I managed to make it to the end using skiing technique," admitted Fosti, who was satisfied with his personal second-best time.
"The emotion coming from the sideline definitely gave me strength to make it to the finish line," said Fosti, praising the spectators cheering at the end. "The crowd saw that I was having a hard time and I thought, 'Don't give up.'"
Likewise speaking to ERR, Nurme, who finished just over 30 seconds after Fosti, was amazed to even make it to the Olympics in the first place, "Considering the fact that I ran my first marathon in November of last year. Today I ran my personal second best time and finished in the top third — it can be said that it was a great run."
Nurme admitted that he hadn't been sure where his fellow Estonian runner was, and actually thought that Fosti was behind him. He expressed disappointment that the final seven kilometers of his run didn't go more smoothly, however he "finished on a positive note, as nobody ran past me at the end."
The 30-year-old current national record holder of the 1500 meter and 3000 meter runs said that he has started to really like marathon running and planned to continue long-distance running in the future.
The end of the 2016 Rio Olympics
The Games of the XXXI Olympiad, the first Olympics to be hosted in South America, officially drew to a close with the closing ceremony in Rio on Sunday night. The ceremony included the traditional Parade of Flags followed by the Parade of Athletes, the latter of which, according to a tradition dating back to the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, saw Olympic athletes from various countries enter the stadium blended together, rather than grouped by country of origin.
The ceremony also featured a performance staged by Tokyo, the next hosts of the Summer Games in 2020, and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes formally handed over the Olympic flag to Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo.
All in all, a total of 47 Estonian Olympians competed in 13 different events at the Rio Olympics. The country ended up earning only one medal in Rio, brought home by quadruple scull team members Andrei Jämsä, Allar Raja, Tõnu Endrekson and Kaspar Taimsoo, however the country's athletes expressed satisfaction with their efforts all the same, and many have already set their sights on the 2020 Tokyo Games.