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Italian swimmer proposes marriage girlfriend post race

Italian swimmer proposes marriage girlfriend post race
Highlights

It started with nausea and vomiting. It ended with a winning strategy. And it was punctuated with a marriage proposal. Simone Ruffini-'s victory in...

It started with nausea and vomiting. It ended with a winning strategy. And it was punctuated with a marriage proposal. Simone Ruffini's victory in swimming's version of the marathon at the world championships involved a parade of emotions on Saturday.



Despite throwing up twice during the opening lap on the Kazanka River, the Italian eventually stood atop the podium under a light drizzle after the nearly five-hour 25-kilometer race, and held up a marriage proposal for girlfriend and teammate Aurora Ponsele. She said yes.


"It was tough but it went well in the end," Ruffini said after completing 10 laps back-and-forth across the river in 4 hours, 53 minutes, 10.7 seconds.

It was a two-man race in the end with Alex Meyer but the American dropped behind on the final lap and took silver, 4.4 seconds behind. Bronze went to Ruffini's Italian teammate, Matteo Furlan, 1:27.3 back.

"Already at the second feeding station I told my coach I wasn't feeling well. I felt nauseous and I vomited twice. Once I calmed down, I just tried to continue in a nice routine and do one lap at a time,” Ruffini said.

"In the last lap the American and I agreed to attack together and I sent him ahead a meter in front of me. It's a risky tactic. I was worried he might betray me but when there were 400 meters to go he didn't have anything left," he added.

After he got out of the water, Ruffini rushed over to embrace Ponsele. Then he surprised his girlfriend with his hastily scribbled proposal on paper. Ponsele put her fingers into the shape of a heart.

"That was quite a shock. We'll have the wedding after Rio," Ponsele said, adding that the couple discussed marriage informally without making any concrete plans referring to next year's Olympics in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Meyer was content with silver. "Me and Simone Ruffini, we worked together as a team a little bit on that last lap and it pretty much guaranteed a top-two finish for both of us," he said.

"Obviously, I would have liked to pass him on the last little bit, but I laid it all out and that's everything I had," he added.
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