Taking the Next Step: Race Walking Celebrates a Finish-Line Proposal at World Championships

Athletics – World Athletics Championship – Men’s 35 km Race Walk – Budapest, Hungary – August 24, 2023 Slovakia’s Dominik Cerny proposes to Slovakia’s Hana Burzalova after the race

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — You might say Hana Burzalova walked right into this.

As the Slovakian race walker crossed the finish line of the 35-kilometer race at world championships Thursday, Burzalova was greeted by her boyfriend, Dominik Cerny, who dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him.

The answer: Yes. Better than gold.

“Why not in Budapest?” said Cerny, also a racewalker for Slovakia who had finished his walk about an hour beforehand. “We have been together for almost one Olympic cycle, almost four years, so I think it was the right time. It was a top-secret thing that nobody knew.”

Even as she approached the line and saw her fiance in waiting down on his knee, Burzalova made sure to stop her watch before the big ask. She finished in her season-best time of 3 hours, 2 minutes, 47 seconds, good for 28th. Earlier, Cerny had finished in 2:32:56, which is his personal best and was good for 19th.

So, no medals for this couple, but something even better. After he slipped the ring on Burzalova’s finger, Cerny scooped her up and carried her off the course.

He said there are no immediate plans for the couple’s next big walk — down the aisle.