Geoff Wightman has been commentating on his son's races since Jake was 11 years old but this was by far his son's biggest win.
Geoff Wightman has been commentating on athletics for many years, but in all his years of commentating, nothing could have quite matched the enthusiasm and joy of watching his son, Jake Wightman, become the 1500m men’s world champion in Oregon on Tuesday night. Wightman, a former athlete himself, was overcome with emotion as he announced his son had won the race. "Jake Wightman has just had the run of his life,” announced Geoff Wightman on the speakers in the stadium, reported The HuffPost. "Running is coming home," he told the Oregon crowd, referring to the popular soccer phrase about England winning. “My voice has gone,” he added. The 28-year-old British runner upset favorites Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Spain’s Mohamed Katir to clinch the win, clocking a timing of 3:29:23. Jake himself appeared to be taken by surprise as his jaw dropped after winning the race.
What's cooler?— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) July 20, 2022
1) Becoming a world champion
2) Having your dad commentating while you do it
Take a bow, Wightman crew 😭 @JakeSWightman @WightmanGeoff @SusanWightman6
🎥 @KatharineMerry pic.twitter.com/LI3xhIfW9V
Shortly after the race, the big screen at Eugene’s Hayward Field cut away from the action to focus on the stadium announcer Wightman, who explained what was going on to those confused. “I have got to tell you why the camera is on me. That’s my son. I coach him. And he’s the world champion,” he told the crowd. Wightman, who's a former marathon runner, has been the announcer for Jake's races from a very young age. “I’ve been doing his school sports day since he was about 11 because my wife’s been his PE teacher,” he told The Guardian. His mother is also a former athlete and represented Team GB in the marathon at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. "It was surreal watching him win gold. I was thinking: I know that guy. He has a familiar look,” said Wightman.
Geoff Wightman, one of the PA voices inside Hayward Field for world championships, closed his eyes and took deep breaths before announcing his son, Jake, as the world 1,500-meter champion. pic.twitter.com/S3gi0VShSh— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) July 20, 2022
When Jake was asked if his father commentating on the race made it more special, he said he's gotten so used to it that he doesn't notice. "I've heard his voice so much that it's just numb to me and I try to drown it out as much as possible," he said, reported BBC. "There's no one else who's got their dad in the stadium calling the race. I've had so many stinkers where he's been calling it that it's nice to have this."
“He kept it together okay, he’s very professional at what he does”— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 20, 2022
Jake Wightman tells #BBCBreakfast about winning gold in the 1500m at the World Champions, while his dad, Geoff, commentated on the race 🎙https://t.co/aEabZg5nTC pic.twitter.com/vIEwUauRSc
He joked that his father's tone can be quite robotic before adding that he hoped his father got emotional. “I hope he broke down today. It will be interesting to watch it back. My mum was in tears, someone was crying!” he said. When Geoff Wightman was asked about commentating on his son, he added that he tries to be as impartial as he can. “The crowds have got bigger, the stadiums have got bigger but the threat is always that if I am not impartial or start coaching over the microphone, I’ll get taken off the 1500m and I love the 1500m,” he said. “It’s his achievement. I’m in the background blithering away.”
Jake Wightman with his mom and dad. His dad was also commentating on the race as well. pic.twitter.com/3JQusbk4SM— Ken Fang -- Get your shots!!!! (@fangsbites) July 20, 2022
The win in Oregon is by far the biggest achievement of Jake Wightman. He won bronze for the 1500m at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2018, but didn’t qualify for the 2016 Olympics and came in 10th in Tokyo in 2020. Jake is now setting eyes on the Commonwealth Games starting on 28 July, in a summer that also includes the European Championships.