A man who refused to be pinned down by any of the other athletes in the final stage of the Rio Olympics said “no” to his friends, colleagues and his family.
The legend, who has not been named, was born in England in 1952, but lives in Rio de Janeiro with his wife and two sons.
The 70-year-old is a retired British Army officer who has won seven medals and is also a certified strength and conditioning coach.
“I didn’t think it was possible,” he told Reuters.
“You would think that my kids would have been with me at the finish line.”
In the final, Mr Smith’s teammates – some of them members of his family – were pushed out of the way to protect his fellow sprinters and to ensure the men’s race could go ahead.
“It was a race for the people, for the country,” Mr Smith said.
“That’s the reason I said ‘I’m not here’.” The race, which was held in the middle of the city, was also delayed for two days after a heavy rain and lightning caused an explosion in the centre of the stadium.
At one point, a man in a red hooded top tried to climb over the barriers.
The police were called and Mr Smith was rescued.
“The man with the hood was trying to climb up the wall, so I just let him go,” Mr Thompson said.