We have all experienced the anxiety of getting on the wrong bus, or the right one heading in the wrong direction, but what would you do if a transport mix-up put your Olympic hopes in jeopardy?
Jamaican sprinter Hansle Parchment boarded a coach last Wednesday that he thought would take him to the Olympic Stadium, where he was due to run in the men’s 110m hurdles semi-finals.
It quickly became apparent, however, that the bus was headed somewhere completely different and, when it came to a stop, it unloaded Parchment at the Sea Forest Waterway, the venue for rowing and canoe sprint.
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“I had music in my ears and I wasn’t hearing anything the people loading the bus were saying,” Parchment admitted in a heartwarming video posted on social media.
“By the time I looked up I realised ‘no, this bus is going the wrong way. I am not familiar with any of these surroundings!’”
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Parchment was told that he would need to take a bus back to the Olympic Village, where he could catch another one to the Olympic Stadium.
However, time was not on his side and relying on the buses would have meant he missed his semi-final. The Jamaican pleaded for an official car but that did not come to anything.
Instead, a volunteer stepped forward and gave Parchment the money he needed to take a taxi directly to the Olympic Stadium.
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He arrived in time for his semi-final, finishing second to book his place in the final. Parchment then returned to the athletics stadium – on the correct bus – the following day and beat world champion Grant Holloway and countryman Ronald Levy to become Olympic champion.
And Parchment did not forget the role that the volunteer had played in his surprise success. The Jamaican returned to the Sea Forest Waterway the following day to thank her for her help, repay the money he had borrowed and pose for photos with his gold medal.
“I saw this volunteer and I had to beg because, of course, she’s not allowed to do much,” Parchment said in the video.
“She actually gave me some money to take one of the taxis that are affiliated with the whole Games and that’s how I was able to get to the warm-up track at the stadium with enough time to warm up to compete, and that’s just awesome.
“So, I’m going to find her this morning and show her the gold medal that I was able to get because she helped.”
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