Ollie Hoare 'the new Herb Elliott' wins gold at Commonwealth Games in a race for the ages

Ollie Hoare ‘the new Herb Elliott’ wins gold at Commonwealth Games in a race for the ages

When told he was the first Australian since Herb Elliott to do so, he was in disbelief at being in the company of his heroes.

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“I was looking up to Herb Elliott when I was at school when I couldn’t run 5km without being out of breath,” he said.

“I’ve never met Herb Elliott. Heard all about him. My dad won’t shut up about him. You look up to them and you’d love to meet them. Steve Cram and Seb Coe you look around and they’re my heroes. They’re my Michael Jordan.

“Herb – I’d love to meet you for a beer if you’re around.”

Ollie Hoare grew up in the Shire, south of Sydney, running for Sutherland athletics and being timed by his war veteran granddad Fred, who was a life member of the club. He was trained by his dad Greg.

“My granddad was a life member of Sutherland District Athletic Club, World War II veteran Sergeant Fred Hoare, so I dedicate the race to him. He was a great inspiration to me and my dad.

“He always had the same stopwatch, it was about 100 years old and he would trust the timer, he would only go off the stopwatch. My PBs were on his stopwatch of him.

“He was a great lover of the sport, a lover of Herb Elliott… he was the reason my Dad loves the sport, reason why I love the sport.

“After such a disappointing world championship and to win now and he just passed away at 96.

“It kind of hit me, I hadn’t been home and was unable to attend his funeral two days ago. He is up there having a glass of red wine laughing his ass off of him. He would be saying ‘I knew you could do it mate but I unfortunately wasn’t around to see it’.

“I’m sure my mum made my Dad deaf and my dad is probably calling everyone he knows. My brother is very excited because I think he made a pretty good gamble on Sportsbet so it is happy days for the family.”

Fred indeed would have been laughing his ass off, and roaring because he had still been there he would have stopped his 100-year-old stopwatch with Ollie crossing the line in 3:30:12, a two-second PB and a new games record. But the time didn’t matter as it was who he beat.

Hoare began comfortably and sat off the shoulders of Abel Kipsang and Cheruiyot who took the front two places and kept a hard fast pace. Hoare was happy with that, he’d trained for a fast race.

Oliver Hoare, left, of Australia crosses the finish line to win the men’s 1500 meter final. Credit:AP

He looked to be running into trouble at the bell, blocked in on the inside lane. As Hoare got to 200 meters to go he had to check his run from him, drop half a meter and give himself space to get around. And then he kicked. What a kick.

He had to go wide but he was flying.

“It was a matter of pulling the kick at the right time. I went through on the inside with a lap to go and I saw (Scotsman) Jake (Wightman) next to me and started to panic because he’s the world champion.

“You can hear the Scottish roar in the stadium so I tried to hold my composure. Then with 100 meters to go I made sure I covered my spot on the bend to not let anyone else past me.

“Then when I got out to lane three it was all about holding form and just running like bloody hell and I was able to get it.

“When I made the move to lane three I could tell I had him (Cheruiyot) because he can’t gauge where anyone else is. You’re in a very vulnerable position, even if you’re of the caliber that he is, and I saw he was starting to lock up. I had more juice in the tank and I wanted it.”

Wightman couldn’t catch him and Cheruiyot couldn’t hold on. With five meters to go Hoare had him as Cheruiyot staged, wobbled and lost half a step. Hoare beat him by .09 of a second. Wightman was 0.41 seconds behind Hoare.

“I hope the race (is remembered). I had never made an Australian team until Tokyo.”

He said he was also pretty unknown while in the United Stats as a college runner on a scholarship.

“I hope I can bring that name and also show the kids back home that just because you are an Australian it doesn’t mean you can’t win Commonwealth Games 1500m.”

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