Marriage proposal interrupts Aussie's gold bid

12:05, Jul 28 2014
Chris Pritchard
INDECENT PROPOSAL: Scottish cyclist Chris Pritchard proposes to his girlfriend, holding up the men's keirin race.

They say timing is everything. Matthew Glaetzer's was perfect on Sunday night, racing home to win gold in the men's keirin, the finale of four days of track cycling in Glasgow.

Not quite so the Scottish cyclist who, swept up in the emotion of it all, decided to dash up the track on foot, climb the fence and propose to his girlfriend - just as Glaetzer and five others were about to start their final.

Everything worked out very well for both of them. Chris Pritchard is heading to the altar, and Glaetzer will be walking down the plane aisle on the way home with a gold medal around his neck.

There was a touch of rudeness in the romance, though, given the the keirin finalists were seconds away from beginning their pursuit of the derny (keirin motorbike).  Fortunately, for Glaetzer at least, Pritchard's foray into the crowd did not prove a serious distraction.

"I saw the guy bent down and holding, I assumed, his partner's hand. I thought 'wow, it could be a proposal going on'," Glaetzer said.

"We were waiting for the gold medal ride and all of a sudden there's this commotion going on in the stands. "It's been a great night for that man, and myself."

It was another one for Australia, too, with gold medals to Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton giving the team a overall tally of 20 medals - seven gold, eight silver and five bronze - on the track in Glasgow.

With an eye towards their rivalry with Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics the return not only made Australia clearly the top nation at the velodrome, but bettered the combined medal collection of England and Scotland here.

On the final night at the track there was also silver for Glenn O'Shea in the men's scratch race, adding to his gold in the team pursuit, silver for Anna Meares in the women's sprint and bronze via Brandie O'Connor and Breanna Hargrave in the women's para tandem time trial.

For Glaetzer, it was a great ending to an up-and-down competition. He bombed out well before the medal rounds in the men's sprint having broken the Commonwealth Games record in qualifying, and was desperate to atone for that setback in the keirin.

"It was super disappointing. I had to go back to my apartment and be disappointed for a while but then regroup and focus on this," said Glaetzer, who beat sprint gold medallist Sam Webster of New Zealand across the line in a final that also included Australia's Shane Perkins (fourth) and Peter Lewis (fifth).

"I should have done better there so this was redemption for me in the keirin and super happy to get the win. I didn't know I had it until I saw the slow-motion replay. I knew it was close, I didn't want to celebrate too early. I wanted to make sure I got it.

"It's been a bit of a rollercoaster Games for me, so to come back on a high is really good."

He said Australia could be pleased with how they performed overall in Glasgow.

"We're happy with how we're sitting," Glaetzer said. "There is still room for improvement, definitely on my behalf, and we're really looking forward to the lead-in to Rio now. It's going to be a good solid block and we'll see what we can do in the years to come.


Sydney Morning Herald