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08/19/2016 06:16 pm ET

An Olympic Race Walker Pooped Himself, Started Bleeding And Still Placed 8th

Laugh all you want; this is a story of bravery and perseverance.
Yohann Diniz of France competes in the 50km race walk final on Friday.
Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Yohann Diniz of France competes in the 50km race walk final on Friday.

Violent mid-race gastrointestinal issues may have cost a French race walker Olympic gold, but they didn’t keep the heroic athlete from waddling across the finish line.

On Friday, 38-year-old world record holder Yohann Diniz maintained a healthy lead in the men’s 50km walk final in Rio de Janeiro when his bowels suddenly turned on him, Business Insider reports.

Race footage showed Diniz struggling to continue as blood appeared to run down the backs of his legs. 

France's Yohann Diniz sponges away blood as he competes in the Men's 50km Race Walk during the athletics event at the Rio 201
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images
France's Yohann Diniz sponges away blood as he competes in the Men's 50km Race Walk during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Pontal in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016.

While the cause of “runner’s diarrhea” isn’t fully understood, it is a fairly common occurrence among long-distance runners, according to the Mayo Clinic.

At one point Diniz stuffed a sponge in his shorts in an attempt to soak up the blood and feces.

Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Despite being forced to stop several times, the gold medal favorite battled on. Around the 36-kilometer mark, however, he collapsed to the pavement, which an announcer quickly determined was “the end of it.” 

Bravely, Diniz once again got back to his feet, and with the encouragement of fans and fellow racers managed to cross the finish line in eighth place, with a time of 3:46:43 ― roughly six minutes behind gold medalist Matej Tóth of Slovakia.

Bravo to Diniz for a heroic ― but far from pretty ― performance.

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