French runner Jimmy Gressier is famous — and might spend the rest of his life being infamous. People may forget his name and impressive running record soon enough, but they probably won’t forget the incredible meme he just became.
Gressier ran a European cross country race, representing his native France. The runner killed it in the under-23 SPAR European Cross Country Championship race, successfully defending his title and proving what an incredible athlete he is — again. Unfortunately, he attempted to finish with some flair and tried to knee-slide across the finish line. Gressier clearly trained as a runner and not a professional knee-slider, however, because there was a whole lot of knee and not much slide.
As a general rule, it’s probably not good when the announcer says “… and it all went horribly wrong!”
The celebration didn't go according to plan but his performance was brilliant!
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) December 9, 2018
The knee-slide was a complete failure. Jimmy’s knee hit the mud but there wasn’t enough sliding action. Instead of his knee meeting the slick ground with forward momentum, his knee met sticky earth — and dug in. Physics dictated the rest. That hard stop in his forward motion sent the now-kneeling Jimmy face first into the finish line, which was being held up by two beautifully composed and confused race workers. They stood and stared awkwardly before letting the finish line flop limply around Jimmy.
Video of the world’s most embarrassing celebration went viral. Jimmy won … but did he really?
Congratulations to Jimmy Gressier for defending his Under-23 Euro Cross Country title, but the knee slide needs some work 😂😳 https://t.co/hc6THOGCCp
— Wiggle (@Wiggle_Sport) December 9, 2018
Got too excited when he saw it and finished too soon – dammit…
— Mike Rod (@MikeRod6788) December 10, 2018
Lots of people laughed but many could totally relate. The finish-fail became the video metaphor we never knew we needed.
When your EU-approved Brexit deal gets voted down by the Commons https://t.co/4ydUNT2rud
— Josh Owen (@JoshOwen123) December 9, 2018
Me tryna slide into the DMs… https://t.co/GdivdBkj0j
— Shawn Wright (@shawnwright94) December 9, 2018
Story of my life!😂😂 Running into 2019 like: pic.twitter.com/aXwIJqmGDo
— 🍇 🎀 𝐻𝑒𝓁𝑒𝓃 𝒟. 🎀 🍇 (@HelenLuvsVSPink) December 10, 2018
@kay_la_la20 if this isnt the best metaphor for life rn idk what is
— EvaHazel (@Evahazel223) December 10, 2018
Me around beautiful women.
— Scarred Romeo (@ScarredRomeo) December 10, 2018
So, yeah. Congrats on your win, Jimmy! Being the human embodiment of what it looks like to have life kick you in the shin must suck, but you won the race, defended your title, and connected with people all across Twitter. That’s more than most of us can say.