Gold medal marathon winner Michael Shelley has copped an onslaught of abuse for not stopping to help a fellow competitor who dramatically collapsed shortly before the finish line.
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins had been in front of the men’s marathon when he became delirious in the 30C heat and fell in the last 1km of the race.
As Hawkins lay helpless on the ground in exhaustion waiting for medical staff, Shelley ran past to claim the gold medal victory.
Since the win, the 34-year-old Australian athlete’s celebration has been mixed with a torrent of hate for his ‘heartless’ failure to help.
Gold medal marathon winner Michael Shelley (right) has copped an onslaught of abuse for not stopping to help Callum Hawkins (on ground) who collapsed shortly before the finish line
A Nine News presenter quipped: ‘If he [Shelley] had stopped to help the guy over the finish line, he would be remembered a lot longer as a gold medal winner. It’s that sense of mateship.’
‘I glory in stories of those who stop,’ Journalist Peter FitzSimons agreed.
‘But when you’re in those races, there can be no interference. No human contact. He would have been disqualified,’ FitzSimons added.
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins (pictured at front) had been ahead in the men’s marathon when he became delirious in the 30C heat and fell in the last 1km of the race
As Hawkins lay helpless on the ground in exhaustion (pictured) waiting for medical staff, Shelley ran past to claim the gold medal victory
Public backlash exploded over Twitter as some users called Shelley ‘gutless’ and ‘greedy’.
‘Shame on Michael Shelley for running past a clearly distressed and exhausted Callum Hawkins,’ one person wrote.
‘Surely someone’s health and welfare is more important than a gold medal!’
But Shelley has spoken back, saying he was struggling himself to make it to the finish line and denied his actions were callous.
‘It was just what happened,’ he told The Courier Mail.
‘I saw the volunteer beside him and I didn’t see any lead-up. I just saw that he was getting help.’
The athlete admitted that since his win ‘it’s been a tough week’ and reportedly looked like he was going to cry at a party held for Commonwealth Games volunteers.
‘He’s a very decent and sensitive guy, and there’s no doubt he’s been hurt by the criticism, which is totally unwarranted,’ Games chairman Peter Beattie said.
Shelley told the media he has reached out to Hawkins, saying: ‘I just told him I hope he’s better soon and wished him all the best.’
Shelley has spoken back against the trolls, saying he was struggling himself to make it to the finish line and denied his actions were callous