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Rip-roaring discus victory for Robert Harting at London Olympics sparks hurdling celebration

08/07/2012 04:20 EDT | Updated 10/07/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Germany's Olympic Committee won't mind footing the bill for new shirts for Robert Harting.

The discus thrower has a tradition of tearing them up whenever he wins a major title and on Tuesday, it was a rip-roaring victory at the London Games.

"If you see me coming out the stadium without a shirt, you know it was good," Harting said.

He is on a two-year unbeaten streak in the discus and has now completed the golden triple of the European, world and Olympic titles.

Plenty of reasons to go a little crazy in the Olympic Stadium.

The tradition of shirt-shredding goes back years. "Now, I'm addicted to it," he said.

On Tuesday, he added hurdling to his resume.

After he flexed his muscles to his fans and waved the German flag, he noticed the hurdles were already set up for the women's final. So off he went, all 126 kilograms (278 pounds) of him bouncing up and down the track as he cleared one obstacle after another in front of 80,000 fans.

His unbeaten streak may stand at 29 competitions, but Olympic gold was still something special, for the athlete known in Germany as "Lord of the Ring," referring to the circle from which the throwers throw the discus.

"It's just amazing," said the 27-year-old. "I've dreamed of this since I was 12 years old."

Harting won with a best mark of 68.27 metres in a tight competition.

He may be unbeaten in two years, but thoughts of matching American Al Oerter who won four straight Olympics from 1956 to 1968 do not enter his head.

"What Al Oerter did is not possible to repeat," Harting said. "I don't think that (anyone) can be in such condition for 16 years nowadays."

Ehsan Hadadi of Iran finished with silver, an improvement on his bronze at the world championships last year, with a throw of 68.18 and 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia took bronze with 68.03.

Harting was trailing until the fifth round in the final after Hadadi set the early mark with his best throw on his first attempt.

"It was so hard as my beginning was bad," Harting said. "It got better and in the end I was lucky."

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