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‘Miss, Peter can run!’: The chance moment that started Bol’s running journey

Neil Mitchell
Peter Bol

Tonight, Peter Bol will compete in the men’s 800 metre final at the Tokyo Olympics.

No matter where he places, he’s made history.

He’s the first Australian to qualify for the event since 1968.

But in his early teenage years, Bol wasn’t even aware that athletics competitions existed.

That all changed when a teacher at his high school — St Norbert College in Perth — was organising runners for the athletics carnival and didn’t have a student to run the 400 metres.

“There was a student next to me who said ‘Miss, Peter can run!’,” teacher Helen Leahy told Neil Mitchell.

“I’d never seen him run before and I was shocked and amazed,” she said.

A year later, when Bol was 15, Ms Leahy sat him down to ask him if he wanted to compete seriously in athletics.

“He said ‘What do you mean … I can do it for a sport?”

Within a couple of years he won the 800m at the Australian Junior Championships.

Press PLAY below for the heartwarming story of how Peter Bol began his running journey

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Neil Mitchell
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