Decent proposal! Italian wins swim gold & wedding promise
Italy’s Simone Ruffini won the world championship men’s marathon 25-kilometer open water gold medal on Saturday and celebrated by proposing to his girlfriend on the podium.
Ruffini edged out Alex Meyer, of the United States, and compatriot Matteo Furlan for the title after first overcoming a stomach complaint.
But even that challenge was nothing compared to the nerves needed to unfurl a hastily written proposal convincing Italian teammate Aurora Ponsele to marry him just as he received his medal.
Ponsele signaled back with two fingers shaped in a heart to the delight of watching fans.
“I’m happy for the gold medal and even happier that the answer to my marriage proposal to Aurora (Ponsele) was a sign of love from her,” said the champion.
“This was the best moment of my life. Of course I am looking forward to the Olympic Games, but today I understand the meaning of my life.”
Ruffini took gold in four hours 53 minutes 10.7 seconds at Kazan’s Kazanka venue with Meyer winning silver at just 4.4 seconds back.
Having finished fourth in the event two years ago in Barcelona, the 27-year-old American finally made it onto the podium.
Furlan claimed third after finishing one minute 27.3 seconds back and won his second bronze at these world championships after a podium place in the 5 kilometers earlier this week.
In the women’s event, Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha took gold over the 25-kilometer distance with a winning time of 5:13.47.3 hours with Hungary’s Anna Olasz second at 26.3 seconds back.
Germany’s Angela Maurer, who won a silver in the event at the 2013 championships, had to settle for bronze this time as she finished 1 minute 20.3 seconds back.
China won their eighth successive gold medal in 3-meter diving at the world championships when Shi Tingmao clinched victory.
Shi won with 383.55 points to edge out compatriot, and four-time gold medalist, He Zi on 377.45.
Italy’s Tania Cagnotto finished third with 356.15 points.
Russia clinched the world championship synchronized swimming combined title for a third time.
The Russian team scored 98.3000 points to defeat China (96.2000) and Japan (93.8000).
Italy’s gold medal winner Simone Ruffini shows a placard that says, “Aurora, you want to marry me?” during the ceremony for the men’s 25-kilometer open water swim competition at the Swimming World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 1.