Icelandic discus coach Vésteinn Hafsteinsson celebrated with tears in his eyes as his apprentice, Estonian discus thrower Gerd Kanter, won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics yesterday.
“It has been my dream to coach a discus thrower that would win at the Olympics,” Hafsteinsson told Morgunbladid. “I have always said that I was a better coach than discus thrower. I made it to the finals in the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 as an athlete and I wish that I had done better in my career.”
Hafsteinsson has coached Kanter for eight years. After Kanter won the gold yesterday, Hafsteinsson got a phone call from the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. “What do you say when the president of Estonia is the first person to call and congratulate you?”
Kanter earned the gold medal after throwing the discus 68.82 meters. Piotr Malachowski from Poland placed second with a throw of 67.82 meters and Virgilijus Alekna from Lithuania placed third with 67.79 meters.
“It is a big moment for a small country like Estonia, which only has 1.3 million inhabitants. It is also a big moment for me and hopefully Icelanders too,” Hafsteinsson said.
While celebrating the Estonian gold in discus, Hafsteinsson also waved a small Icelandic flag in support for the Icelandic handball players, who beat Poland 32-30 this morning.