“Oh, it’s gonna be so close… So, so close,” he said, before declaring Wightman the champion with relative composure.
“I’ve been doing his school sports day since he was about 11 because my wife’s been his PE teacher, so we’ve just taken it to slightly bigger stadia, slightly bigger crowds and slightly bigger medals,” Wightman Sr. explained later to BBC Sport, adding that he needed to be impartial in order to do his job.
The 28-year-old Wightman’s win makes him the first British runner to win the 1,500m in 39 years, when Steve Cram took gold in 1983.
A shocked Wightman said he didn’t think the news would sink in until he was retired, explaining: “It’s mad, I had such a disappointing year in Tokyo last year.”
“I don’t think people probably realize how crushing it is to go in with such high expectations, and come away, hoping for a medal, but ending up with 10th,” he said, adding his only aim was to do better.
“I’ve given up so much to get to this point, such a lot of things sacrificed, and this makes everything worth it.”