Spain’s Laura Garcia-Caro learned the hard way to wait until the finish line to celebrate after missing out on a medal when she was overtaken by Ukraine’s Lyudmila Olyanovska in the 20km race walk at the European Athletics Championships on Friday.

Garcia-Caro, in third place going into the final straight in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, began to celebrate what she thought was a bronze medal as she approached the finish line.

However, her smile of joy as she waved the Spanish flag quickly faded as Olyanovska surged past her with just five metres to go, denying the 29-year-old a medal in a moment that went viral on social media.

“I am quite disappointed. The first part of the race I suffered, but (I did) recover and in the last 10 metres I thought I had it but I didn’t,” Garcia-Caro told local media.

“Now I have to assimilate (what happened) and heal my heart,” she added.

Gold and silver went to Italians Antonella Palmisano and Valentina Trapletti in the 20km race, which had 35 athletes from 14 countries take part.