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Stubborn Gianniotis banishes Olympic pain in 10-km
July 22, 2013 / 12:55 PM / 4 years ago

Stubborn Gianniotis banishes Olympic pain in 10-km

Winner Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece kisses his gold medal at the men's 10km open water victory ceremony during the World Swimming Championships at De La Fusta venue in Barcelona July 22, 2013. REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Greece’s Spyridon Gianniotis made up for missing a medal at the 2012 Olympics when sheer willpower carried him to the line to win the men’s 10-km open water event at the world championships on Monday.

The 33-year-old attacked on the fourth and final lap around the Catalan city’s picturesque Moll de la Fusta port and dug deep in the final meters to hold off a late charge from Thomas Lurz of Germany who came in second.

Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, who won Saturday’s 5-km race, faded in the closing stages but just managed to pip France’s Damien Cattin-Vidal and Richard Weinberger of Canada to clinch third.

After his triumph in Shanghai two years ago, it was a second straight world title in the grueling event for Gianniotis, who finished fourth at the London Olympics.

He also becomes only the second man to successfully defend his 10-km gold after Russia’s Vladimir Dyatchin in 2008.

Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece (R) celebrates as he won the men's 10km open water race in front of second placed Thomas Peter Lurz of Germany (C) and third placed Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia (L) during the World Swimming Championships at De La Fusta venue in Barcelona July 22, 2013. REUTERS/Albert Gea

“I was very close to the podium at the Olympics and I was very upset,” he said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster TVE.

”This year here today I was stubborn and I wanted to do it and I told myself that the Olympics was just a bad trip.

Slideshow (2 Images)

”I said to myself on the last lap give it everything and it was totally positive.

“The last 20 meters were very, very, very hard but I had the psychology and the will power.”

A former long-distance pool swimmer who has an English mother, Gianniotis returned a winning time of one hour 49 minutes and 11.8 seconds.

Lurz, the Olympic silver medalist in London, finished in 1:49:14.5 and Mellouli 1:49:19.2.

Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Justin Palmer

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