The celebration will be remembered by anybody who was watching the men’s discus final at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin either inside the stadium or on television.
With only one attempt left to improve on his silver medal from the 2007 World Championships, Harting had nearly 70,000 people willing him on as he stepped into the throwing circle for the sixth time before hurling the discus to a lifetime best of 69.43m, supplanting his long-time rival Piotr Malachowski who set a Polish record of 69.15m in the fifth round.
Knowing the Pole still had one throw left to regain the ascendency, Harting had to refrain himself from over-celebrating but after his sixth round throw fell short, the celebrations began in earnest. Harting ripped his vest to pieces which became his trademark before hoisting the much-beloved mascot Berlino the Bear over his sizeable shoulders.
This was the beginning of Harting’s period of dominance in major championships. He claimed six titles either at European or global level between 2009 and 2014, including the Olympic gold medal in 2012 before his younger brother Christoph succeeded him in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
But while Christoph has perhaps two more Olympic Games ahead of him, his older brother - whose latter years have been ravaged by injuries - will retire from competition this summer. His final major competition will be the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships before he bids farewell altogether in the same stadium the following month at the ISTAF on 2 September.
Harting talks here about his expectations at the European Championships in Berlin this summer and his life after athletics.
More information on the 2018 European Championships:
- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.
- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.
- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every four years.
- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.
- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August.
- 4500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.
- Potential TV audience of over one billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.
- Over half a million spectators expected.