THE UK may be harvesting a formidable crop of Olympic medals — but when it comes to celebrating, man mountain Robert Harting can teach the country a thing or two about style.
Unlike many UK athletes, the discus champion didn’t bother shedding a tear when he took gold with a mammoth throw.
Instead, he tore his shirt off “Incredible Hulk” style, flexed his muscles with a mighty roar and grabbed a German flag from the Olympic stadium. Then he tried his luck at another gold medal, this time in the women’s hurdles. The track had already been set up for the women’s 100m final but Harting wasn’t going to let the hurdles become barriers to his victory lap.
So despite his 20 stone bulk, he jumped nearly all of them, cheered on by a delighted crowd in the 80 000 seat stadium. Next, he raced towards the Olympic cauldron, reached in, and attempted unsuccessfully to liberate one of the flaming prongs. Finished now Herr Harting? Er, not quite. After leaving the stadium he headed out with friends and team-mates for a night to remember. If only he could.
His extraordinary celebration continued aboard a German cruise liner docked in London to accommodate the Teutonic team, embraced an alcohol-fuelled night on the tiles — and ended with him falling asleep on a train, being robbed, and barred entry to the Olympic village yesterday after losing his accreditation.
Beat that for Olympic gold! The first fans and friends knew of his troubles came when he Tweeted in (almost) English: “Puuh i just got robbed while I did some work to please athletic fans! I lost all my accredition (sic) for Olympic Village! — no entrance.”
Shortly after dawn he managed to get a message to German team manager Siegfried Schonert but had to wait until 8am before arrangements were made to get him in.
First reports said he went to bed “dead tired” — and without realising he was no longer in possession of his kit and equipment.
Back home in the Fatherland, however, he was hailed as a hero. In his native Berlin, officials were preparing a homecoming victory parade and were singing his praises. Social Democrat mayor Klaus Wowereit described his victory as “Phenomenal”.
He added: “He is, and remains, a symbol of Berlin sport. Berlin is proud.”
Meanwhile the athlete’s stadium antics took off on YouTube (and possibly on CCTV somewhere along the Docklands Light Railway).