Gold medal-winning hurdler tracks down woman who helped him get to race after getting on wrong bus

Hansle Parchment says volunteer was instrumental in him earning gold
Tokyo Olympics Athletics
Posted at 12:29 PM, Aug 12, 2021

TOKYO — A track and field athlete from Jamaica got the chance to thank a stranger who proved to be instrumental in him earning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last week.

In an Instagram video, Hansle Parchment explained that he accidentally got on the wrong bus when heading to the semifinals of the men's 110-meter hurdles.

“I had music in my ears, and I wasn’t hearing anything the people loading the bus were saying, but I saw the sign at the top of that bus stand saying, ‘athletics track,’ so I just went on not even thinking about it and I was on my phone listening to music,” he said. “By the time I looked up, I realized, ‘no, this bus is going the wrong way.’”

Parchment says he ended up at an aquatic facility where some type of rowing was taking place. There, he was told that he would need to go back to the Olympic Village and then take another bus to the correct stadium.

“And if I had done that, I wouldn’t get there in time to even warm-up,” he said.

Parchment said he attempted to arrange for an Olympics car to take him to his event, but the officials wouldn’t allow it because they were adhering to strict rules.

That’s when he encountered a volunteer who saved the day and changed his Olympic trajectory.

“I saw this volunteer and I had to beg because, of course, she’s not allowed to do much, and she actually gave me some money to take one of the taxis that are affiliated with the whole games and that’s how I was able to get to the warm-up track at the stadium with enough time to warm up to compete,” he said.

Parchment ended up claiming the gold medal in his event on Aug. 5, so he decided to go back out into the streets of Tokyo and find the volunteer to thank her for her help.

Parchment quickly located the volunteer and explained to her that he won and couldn’t have done it without her.

“You were instrumental in me getting to the finals that day,” he said.

He showed her his medal, which she took a photo with. He also repaid her the money she gave him for the taxi and brought her a shirt.

Since sharing his story, Parchment’s video has gone viral, even being shared by the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness.