Aussie Tallent wins silver in 50km walk

Aussie Tallent wins silver in 50km walk

Walker Jared Tallent strolled into Australia's Olympic history books on a stomach full of pizza and flat Coke.

Tallent became the first Australian in 36 years to win multiple athletics medals at the same Olympics by snaring silver in the men's 50km walk in Beijing.

The silver followed his bronze in the 20km walk last Saturday, an event he reckons he only recovered from on Thursday.

The son of a Victorian potato farmer dreaded another bronze when he momentarily fell behind Russian world record holder Denis Nizhegorodov and Italian Alex Schwazer.

"When they both got away I thought `not another bronze' ... something other than bronze would be nice."

The 23-year-old got that something when he caught and then slipped Nizhegorodov, but ultimately he couldn't reel in Schwazer who won the gold in three hours 37.09 minutes - two minutes and 18 seconds ahead of Tallent. The Russian finished third.

Tallent became the first Australian to win two athletics medals at the same Olympics since Raelene Boyle won silver in the 100m and 200m sprints at the 1972 Munich Games.

He is the first Australian man to achieve the feat in over a century.

Remarkably, Friday's gruelling race was just Tallent's third over the 50km journey.

And he did it after succumbing on Thursday night to the lure of his favourite food, pizza, and while sipping flat Coke in the latter stages of the race to get a caffeine and sugar rush, without the stomach trembling fizz.

"It (pizza) is my favourite food, it had been tempting me for the whole two weeks," Tallent said.

"Everyone was telling me `keep it down today' so I was thinking about that."

The pizza helped restore energy sapped from his bronze medal performance in the 20km walk.

"I started to feel good yesterday," he said.

"I wasn't sure, I was a bit worried that I might get to 20km and go `oh geez'... lucky it didn't happen."

Tallent will marry fellow Beijing Olympic walker Claire Woods in eight days, in the Adelaide suburb of Walkerville.

"It will take a few weeks to get over this but I don't mind, it's all worth it in the end," he said.

"I am more worried if I can do my wedding dance.

"I don't think we'll be able to ever live up to these two weeks."

Woods on Thursday equalled her personal best in the women's 20km, finishing 28th in 1:33:02.

Tallent said his Beijing achievements far outweighed his pre-Games ambitions.

"I never thought this was going to happen," he said.

"Coming into the Games, I knew I was in good shape for the 20km, I thought I could maybe get a medal in that.

"But the 50km ... I started to feel good yesterday which was the first day I started to feel alright after the 20km.

"This is what it's all for, all those years of hard work comes down to this.

"I really just decided to give it a crack, stay with the leaders and see what happens - I'm ecstatic, I can't believe it."

Fellow Australian Luke Adams placed 10th in 3:47.45, but Adam Rutter failed to finish, still suffering a virus contracted two days ago.