Jolien Boumkwo is a shot putter who participated in the European Athletics Championships in Poland on Saturday.
Although she earned a respectable seventh place in her event the day before, she made headlines worldwide when she stepped in to save her country.
Belgium needed one point to avoid being relegated. That’s when Boumkwo stepped in. She found out that her country will earn a point if she competed in an event, even if she came last.
Because her teammates were injured, no one from Belgium would’ve entered the race. That’s when Boumkwo stepped in to save the day.
While the other athletes ran as fast as possible and earned personal best times, Boumkwo jogged up to each hurdle and then climbed cautiously over the barriers.
She told CNN that the footage of her competing in the race isn’t quite the same image she had in her head.
“In my head it looks a bit more elegant than what I’ve seen on the video, but it could be worse as well.”
Boumkwo eventually finished the race in 32.18 seconds. A full 19 seconds behind the next slowest athlete.
The 29-year-old was congratulated on reaching a new personal best time by officials and her teammates.
Image credit: CNN