Frenchman Johann Diniz is as good as it gets in the 50km race walk, holding the world record and winning three European championships.

But his Olympic career has been a nightmare. In 2008, on an extremely humid day in Beijing, he was forced to withdraw from the race around 30km in after experiencing stomach and leg pain.

Four years later in London he finished in eighth place but was immediately disqualified after crossing the finish line for taking a water bottle outside of the prescribed zones on the track.

But the 38-year-old refused to let the disappointment - and persistent pain in his inguinal ligament that resulted in him withdrawing from last year's world championships - keep him from achieving his dream in Rio.


And for much of today's race it was going to script. Diniz broke away early and opened up a 90 second lead on a chasing pack by the 30km mark. The race looked his.

But the health problems which have plagued his career struck again as he momentarily lost control of his bowels and soiled himself.

Diniz was in a bad way and collapsed on the track. He managed to regain his feet and push on but after being caught by the chasing pack he hit the deck again.

It ruled out any chance of victory but the French veteran battled on valiantly to finish eighth behind race winner Matej Toth, of Slovakia. He was hailed on social media for his brave effort.

Australian Jarred Tallent looked to have his second Olympic gold medal in hand when he surged clear at the 40km mark but with just over 2km to go the fairytale script took on a new ending.

Toth came out of the chasing pack and gobbled up Tallent who at one stage had got out to a 20-second advantage.

The rest, as they say, is history.