Aug 13, 2016
When Robert was forced to stop, Christoph got going
RIO DE JANEIRO — When Robert was forced to stop, Christoph got going. Now the Harting brothers have an Olympic discus title each. As different as they are, gold now unites them.
Defending champion Robert Harting was eliminated in Friday's qualifying, yet with a massive last throw in Saturday's final, Christoph made sure the title stayed in the German family.
Harting threw 68.37 meters for a personal best on his sixth attempt, overtaking world champion Piotr Malachowski of Poland, who had been leading with 67.55.
Same family, yet brothers can be so different.
Now, if 31-year-old Robert — who is five years Christoph's senior — had won in that way, there would have been a strong chance of another rip-roaring, shirt-shredding celebration, the kind that would make Usain Bolt blush.
Instead, Christoph took almost Zen-like bows to all sides of the stadium in gratitude for their help during the competition.
While Robert has been ready to talk on just about any issue, especially doping, Christoph has gone most of the year refusing to speak even to the German media. Here's a sample — his first statement after the final: "I am not a PR person. I do not like to answer questions and I do not look for publicity."
Medalists at the Olympics have obligatory news conferences. Even there, he didn't answer questions but instead made a statement.
It's not that he can't be a funny guy. When he was presented for the final, he was swaying to the samba beat of the band behind him.
"I am someone who needs rhythm, loves rhythm," he said, "but it is very tough to dance to the national anthem."
It's being the center of attention that troubles him.
"Extroverts want to be seen," he said. "I am an introvert and feel very uncomfortable here."
With gold around his neck, he might be in for a life-changing few weeks.
Follow Raf Casert on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rcasert