WHEN Jared Tallent crossed the line with an Olympic silver medal on Saturday, his family back in Newlyn breathed a collective sigh of relief.
For the last two hours of the race they had literally been on the edge of their seats after the 27-year-old was given his second red card inside the first 20 kilometres.
A third would have meant disqualification.
“It was so nerve-racking,” Tallent’s sister-in-law Kylie said.
“When he got up into the medal positions, we were just saying ‘hold onto it, hold onto it’.
“Then he moved up again into second and stayed there, but there was no way he could catch the leader.”
Jared’s eldest brother Aaron, as well as Kylie, their three children and a group of friends watched the race at the family’s Newlyn farm.
They waited patiently for any news of Tallent’s progress as Channel Nine flicked between events.
Every time the commentary switched back to the walk race, they prayed Tallent was still there, vying for a medal.
“We were just hoping he didn’t get any more red cards,” Aaron said.
“But I think I was most nervous at the end when he was waving to the crowd.
“I just wanted him to get over the line and without too many mistakes.”
Aaron said he still found it hard to comprehend his brother’s success.
“It’s a bit strange when the commentators are talking about him, it’s a bit surreal when you hear your brother’s name on TV,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s still a shock to see him out there competing on the world stage.”
With Tallent based in Canberra, Aaron and Kylie only get to see the dual silver medallist a couple of times per year, but they stay in regular contact with phone calls, text messages and Skype.
Kylie, who’s been in the family since 2001, said she was excited at what her brother-in-law had achieved.
“He’s like my little brother and I’m really proud of him, he’s so good at what he does,” she said.
“He just works so hard, we don’t know how he does it. We wouldn’t be able to ride a bike beside him and keep up while he’s walking. And to keep that up for three-and-a-half hours, it’s just amazing.”