Touching Video Shows Dad Commentating As His Son Claims Shocking World Title
As British athlete Jake Wightman pulled off a shocking victory to become the 1500m men’s world champion in Oregon on Tuesday night, it was his dad, Geoff, calling the race over the loudspeakers.
Jake Wightman finished in 3:29:23 ― just seconds ahead of Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Spain’s Mohamed Katir. The 28-year-old looked as surprised as anyone as he brought it home, his mouth gaping in awe.
“Jake Wightman has just had the run of his life,” his dad announced over the speakers as he crossed the line. “My voice has gone.”
Moments later, the big screen at Eugene’s Hayward Field switched to show the stadium announcer. “I have got to tell you why the camera is on me. That’s my son. I coach him. And he’s the world champion,” he explained to the crowd.
Geoff Wightman, a former top marathon runner and a veteran athletics commentator, has been calling races for his son since he was a kid.
“I’ve been doing his school sports day since he was about 11 because my wife’s been his PE teacher,” he later said, according to The Guardian.
Jake was later pictured with mom and dad, all looking proud as punch. Both parents are former athletes, with mom Susan Wightman having represented Team GB in the marathon at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Asked how he felt about his dad’s commentating, Jake Wightman said he hardly notices his voice over the speaker anymore, though noted he can be “a bit of a robot on the mic sometimes.”
“I hope he broke down today. It will be interesting to watch it back. My mum was in tears, someone was crying!” he said.
But dad says he has to keep it professional.
“The crowds have got bigger, the stadiums have got bigger but the threat is always that if I am not impartial or start coaching over the microphone, I’ll get taken off the 1500m and I love the 1500m,” he told the BBC.
“It’s his achievement. I’m in the background blithering away.”
Jake Wightman was born in England but runs for Scotland, where he was raised. This win is by far his biggest accomplishment. He won bronze for the 1500m at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2018, but didn’t qualify for the 2016 Olympics and came in 10th at Tokyo in 2020.